Our amazing 8-year-old Emmeline loves people, singing, playing outside, cuddling and riding her recumbent bike. When Emmeline was one year old we found out that she has a rare genetic disorder called CHARGE Syndrome. This make her life “complicated”. CHARGE syndrome causes a wide range of challenges such as hearing loss, heart defects, airway abnormalities, feeding issues and sensory and balance issues. At this point Emmeline has had 14 surgeries and countless sedations. Emmeline has taken all these things head on and brings joy wherever she goes! Having CHARGE Syndrome has impacted her ability to be an average kid. She needs assistance to do most things, especially outside. Emmeline LOVES to socialize! She was born with progressive hearing loss, which led to a Cochlear Implant, and has a severe articulation disorder. She loves to chat but becomes frustrated when we can’t understand her, which in turn makes it more difficult to decipher what she is saying. My hope is that a service dog could help her stay calm so she can more clearly be understood.
As she is getting older, she wants more independence. We are hoping a service dog will help her achieve that! As well as assisting her with the uneven ground of the great outdoors, a service dog would help alert her when hearing is a challenge or she is in an unsafe situation and calm her when she becomes overstimulated or stuck in a repetitive behavior.
Emmeline has been insistent about getting a “helper” dog as soon as she found out they existed 🙂 It can be a challenge finding a group that will place a service dog with a child as young as Emmeline but, after a bit of research we found 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia Ohio. They place multi service assistance dogs with kids as young as Emmeline. These dogs can be trained to help manage behaviors by calming tantrums, disrupt stemming behaviors, alert to dangers, give mobility stabilization, and can even be trained to locate the child who may have wandered off. So cool! Because of all this, these dogs require many months of specialized training that can cost over $34,000. 4 Paws for ability asks families to help raise a portion of this, $17,000, to qualify for an assistance dog. A service dogs would be a huge benefit in so many ways and Emmeline can’t wait to have this adventure.
Please consider donating if possible, to help Emmeline get her “helper” dog! If you can contribute a donation, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Emmeline Harris
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385
Thanks so much for your support