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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Alexander's Auction

Today is the big day.  We are launching the auction for Alexander's seizure dog.  Because of your generosity, we are so very close to our amazing goal of actually getting a dog for Alexander.  I would like to take a minute to tell you some of the specifics about our plans once the auction is final.

We plan to use the organization 4 Paws for Ability.  You can follow the link and read all about them.  There are several reasons we chose this specific organization for Alexander's dog... Many people have asked A LOT of questions about the dog and process ~ so I would like to explain some of them.

1. This dog will be a service dog for Alexander.  It will be specifically selected for him, and trained for his specific needs.  We had hoped to wait to see if he would have greater needs (a service dog can be trained for more than one thing) ... but it has become evident that we need the dog sooner than later, so this one will be trained to alert for seizures.

2.  The dog will be able to alert Ray, myself, the twins, Alexander's nurse, etc. if Alexander is having a seizure.  He will basically be our "Lassie."  Which is a mental image that makes my heart SMILE.

3.  This is important because most organizations will not accept people if the dog is not directly able to "respond" to the person in need.  For example, almost all programs eliminate small children because they do not necessarily have the cognitive language skills to communicate with the dog. The normal minimum age is around 12 for a service dog for this reason.

4.  This is also important because almost all organizations will not train a dog to alert to someone other than the person in need.  Our family needs to be alerted.   This organization will train our entire family to work with this service dog.  Although the dog will be a "service" to Alexander, he will accept commands from our family and alert our family members.

5.  Service dogs are trained to alert when a seizure is happening.  If the dog only ever does this.... it will be worth it.  Ray and I can go back to sleeping because we will feel secure the dog will alert us if a seizure is occurring in the middle of the night.  Often, a bond grows between the dog and the person that a dog can sense when the person is going to have a seizure.  This bond cannot be explained... and we can hope that bond develops.  Again, the bond of alert before the seizure happens is not a definite - but the alerting of a seizure once it starts is what this service dog will be trained to do.

5.  Service dogs cost about $20,000 - $25,000 to train.  If you look at the actual cost to the raise the dog on all these other websites, they all say about the same thing.  Most organizations are cheaper to the recipient.  This is because the organization gets money from other sources; people are put on waiting lists; etc.  But - either way, the money is raised.  We could have put ourselves on a list and in about 2-5 years gotten a dog, but we chose to act now.  We hoped we could raise the money within a year.  Never in a million years did we believe we would raise it this fast.

I can't believe I am posting this. I can't believe we are so close. I can't believe so many people have donated.  I can't believe so many people have put so much toward our family.

If we happen to raise more money than necessary for the service dog, we will put it in the trust established for Alexander.  There are other things he will need in the future that could be large ticket items.  The trust has been established to help us save money for those items.

And finally.... please know that our family does not forget our blessings.  We will find a way to pay your generosity forward to another family.  We are so grateful that 4 Paws for Ability exists to help Alexander, we will probably help fund raising in some way for other families.  Raising $14,000 is a daunting task ... and we could not have done it without your support. 

Once again... Thank you.


At June 2, 2011 at 3:14 AM , Blogger Amy said...

This is wonderful...I truly hope and pray that you get more than enough money to get the dog and anything else that Alexander may need in the future. And just from reading the little bit that I've read over the past few weeks, I have no doubt in my mind that you will find a way to pay it forward. :)


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