I have the most exciting news! After months of prayer, Autism Service Dogs of America have officially accepted Jacob into the service dog program.
As you can imagine, a service dog will absolutely change Jacob's life. A service dog is not a therapy dog. A therapy dog is trained to help many, Jacob's service dog will be trained for his specific needs. Right now, when we go out in public, Cret has to hold Jacob or he must ride in a stroller (with someone in front and back in case he makes a run for it) to keep him safe. Soon, Jacob will be entirely too big to hold and it will become increasingly difficult to go out and do things as a family for long periods of time. I know Jacob wants the freedom to walk alone as well. While we are ok with making adjustments, a service dog will provide an answer to this dilemma. The service dog will be tethered to Jacob's waist and will allow him independence, keeping him safe from bolting off. A service dog is also trained to provide deep pressure for Jacob when he needs it, to relieve anxiety, they can even be trained to search and rescue if something awful were to happen. The sweetest thing, I think, is the friendship that Jacob will find in his new best pal. Although it may take time, I can't wait to see that relationship grow.
The service dog program takes 1.5-2 years to train the dog from a puppy to become a fully certified service dog. This will mean the dog will ride in the car with him, go to school with him, go in stores, on airplanes, anywhere that he may go as he grows up.
I am so incredibly thankful that Jacob has been selected for this program. After videos and an interview they felt that Jacob was a good fit and needed exactly what their service dogs provide. God is so good.
We are now in the fundraising process for the service dog. We must raise $13,500 before they begin the training process. Honestly...I really, really dislike fundraising. Its never cool to ask people to donate money. I just recently raised money for Autism Speaks because I feel that organization is changing the lives for the 1 in 68 individuals with autism, and now just a few months later I'm fundraising for our family. However, I know the difference it will make in my baby's life, in our family's life, and I have faith that this will all work out.
I am so grateful that we have already raised $1,600!!! Friends, family, and strangers have donated and we are so thankful. One friend donated $1,000 through her work. The company allows its employees to put a little aside each paycheck pre-tax to donate to a non-profit and she chose to donate to ASDA in Jacob's name. YAY!
I know some people can't make financial donations, but if you feel led please share our GoFundMe page so that others can read and donate if they feel inclined. My mom wrote a sweet letter to help me set it up. Click here to check it out:
The organization is a non-profit and will be sending me fundraising ideas soon. If you have a fun idea, please private email me. Thank you thank you thank you to those who have given and especially those who have prayed through this journey with us. Please continue to pray that the Lord will see this through to the end. I am so excited for Jacob to meet his new best friend, his life-saving service pup.