This is Thor's story:
" My son, Thor, was a bright baby and by 15 months he could use short sentences ("How you doin' dude?") and had an extensive vocabulary for his age. When he was about 18 months, Thor slowly regressed to non-verbal and showed signs of aggression, self injury, and severe anxiety. Thor was diagnosed in November 2010 as Severely Developmentally Delayed, and is suspected by his therapy team to have Autism (the wait time for the official autism evaluation is long and we’re told it won’t happen until June 2011).
There are many issues that arise from Thor’s disability that makes living each day difficult, both for Thor and myself (I’m a single parent). Currently, I cannot let Thor go for even a second because he will run - usually towards traffic. He has severe anxiety issues, and also self injures (hitting, slapping, pinching himself and even banging his head on hard surfaces).
How will a service dog help?
A service dog would allow Thor the ability to have more freedom when we are in public by having him tethered to the dog and being able to walk along side the dog, rather than being carried or strapped in a stroller. A service dog would also be able to track and retrieve Thor if he were to get away from me, comfort him when he is upset or having a meltdown, and keep him from dangerous activities and bad behaviors (such as hitting himself or banging his head on hard surfaces - for which he requires a helmet right now). It would give me another set of eyes to keep Thor safe.
4 Paws for Ability takes a child with Autism and all the difficulties they have with verbalization, communication, and social relationships and pairs them with a well trained service dog specifically trained to meet their unique needs; to create a consistency in the child's life as their dogs go every where that they go, even within places of public accommodation, and the educational system bringing along with them: consistency, stability, and calm reassurance that the feelings of anxiety or fear are not needed because their trusted buddy is by their side.
Once accepted into the program*, I will have to raise $13,000 to help off-set the costs of training Thor's service dog. After the initial fund raising, it will take 9-12 months to train a dog tailored to Thor's specific needs. Once a dog is chosen and trained for him, we will have to travel to Ohio (from Northern BC, Canada) to attend an 11 day training course where I will learn to be the dog's handler, and Thor will bond with his new buddy.
Thank you for following our journey!"