Dear Canine Assistants,
I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do! Your organization gives hope to SO many people who desperately need it.
Back in April when “Through A Dog’s Eyes” first aired, my sister called me and told me she had seen this show and thought that a dog would be incredibly helpful for my daughter Julianna. I agreed that a canine companion would help the anxiety, sense of isolation and depression stemming from her Autism spectrum disorder and auditory processing disorder. At first I thought that it was a fabulous idea, but didn’t think it was realistic to ask someone for a service dog for Julianna’s ‘hidden disability’ when there are people who have physical need of a dog because they’re wheelchair bound. [You can read all about her ‘hidden disability’ in the short biography I’ve included.]
Then my younger daughter Rosalie’s seizures started changing and becoming more physically debilitating. After the seizures started affecting her at school, I started searching for a seizure response dog for her. Rosalie is autistic and can’t explain what is happening to her and it is frightening to the staff and children at school when she becomes unresponsive and drops to the floor. Having a service dog would help her when she’s having balance issues after the seizures, a dog could be trained to get help in case she’s in the bathroom when it happens, and it could help her feel safe in her bed at night (the night seizures have caused her to become ‘scared of the dark’ but only in bed). You can read all about that in the short biography I’ve included.
When I ran across you organization, I was reminded of my sisters phone call about the benefits of having an autism companion dog for Julianna. I printed out the applications and started filling them out for both children, hopeful that your organization would be the best place to find assistance dogs for both of my girls.
I understand how dogs will change our lives. It is a big undertaking, kind of like having another child. But having had many children, we are all accustomed to welcoming a new being into our family! Having weighed the pros and cons I am absolutely positive that this will be the best thing for my children and my family.
I am a 37 year old mother of seven children: three of the seven have epilepsy, two are on the autism spectrum, and they range in age from 1 to 12. Ours is a very active household, full of children, toys, love and challenges. I feel very strongly about dogs being able to help both physically and emotionally. I grew up around dogs, went to vocational school for dog showing, grooming and training as well as animal health (learning everything from internal and external parasites, taking temperatures, and checking fecal cultures for worms!) I groomed, trained and showed my Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to his CD title and 9 points toward his championship title before he passed away. I trained, bred and showed my Tibetan Spaniel to her championship title. I have chosen to not replace my dogs so that I could focus on my children. I had always thought that when the last child was out of diapers I would get a dog and train it as a therapy dog so I can go into retirement homes and minister to special needs children. Now that I am positive I will not be having any more children, Julianna has hit puberty, and Rosalie’s seizures are increasing in intensity, I feel it is time to start the process of getting service dogs for them.
I have included the applications, medical forms, both personal and professional letters of recommendations and photos of the children.
I pray that God blesses your work no matter whether you decide our family is the right fit for service dogs or not. Thank you for taking the time to look over my girls applications. Please call me at 321/266-0958 if you have any questions, or need any clarifications.
yintibbies, mom to Julianna and Rosalie.