My son, Colton, is an incredible, social young man, but he has struggled mightily with independence. He has an unbalanced translocation between two chromosomes that manifests in speech deficits, cognitive delays, vision problems, apraxia, and poor muscle tone. He has difficulty maneuvering over uneven grades and terrain, experiences anxiety when he’s not in the immediate presence of a caretaker, and does not understand stranger danger. We have been searching for ways to overcome these deficits and to give him more personal freedom. Colton wants to explore and play like other children, but he just doesn’t have the support to do it without his mom or dad with him.
During our research, we found many tools to support one function, but nothing that would provide a more broad approach—that is, until we learned about service dogs. Colton has the opportunity to get a service dog trained especially for him and the deficits he’s trying to overcome. The dog will comfort him when a human caretaker is not in the immediate vicinity, provide balance and better vision to navigate obstacles, and act as a protector from any danger he may face. This dog will participate in a rigorous training process to full prepare before meeting our family.
In January 2019, my family will travel to Xenia, Ohio for the dog’s final two weeks of training. Now, our focus has shifted to raising travel funds for this incredible journey we are about to begin. This includes airfare for three people (both to and from Xenia, Ohio), a hotel for two weeks, a rental car, food, and initial dog supplies like a leash, service dog vest, shoes, and more. We are looking for friends and family to partner with us financially to realize this dream for Colton and to empower him to become more independent. Colton has the ability to change a person’s day with a simple smile and kind word. It is evident in his daily interactions with others—smiles just seem to follow him. Thank you, Southwest, for joining us on this journey.