Hudson, our 4 year old son, was diagnosed 2 years ago with a very rare genetic disease called GAND (a mutation of the GATAD2B gene). This disease greatly impairs his speech, cognition, and mobility. He also has the genes for another rare disease called nemaline myopathy which is in the family of muscular dystrophy and is a progressive disease affecting his muscles. What this means for Hudson on a daily basis is that he cannot speak, currently limited to 15 words, or walk/run like a normal child. He becomes over-stimulated in public places which causes meltdowns and poor behavior. He also had a tendency to wander away—our greatest fear as parents.
Despite Hudson’s challenges, he is an incredibly bubbly little boy with the most infectious laugh. He loves trains (especially Chuggginton), cars, and most of all–making people laugh. As parents, we continue to strive to provide the best possible care for Hudson which is why we are re so excited that Hudson has recently been approved to receive a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability! They are able to train a dog to specifically meet Hudson’s needs. For example, we have had several incidents where he has fallen down stairs as he missed a step or simply became unsteady. In this case, a service dog will be trained to help him up and down stairs by wearing a special vest that Hudson can hold on to. The dog will also be trained to have a tether between Hudson and itself. This will allow Hudson independence in walking outside and in public by himself, yet will give us the ability to issue a stop command if needed. The service dog will also help him regulate his behavior and lower his anxiety in public places. And, most importantly, should Hudson wander off the service dog will be trained to track him down.
In addition to all of these things, we are also so excited for the constant friend and companion that a service dog would bring to Hudson. Since he is mostly non-verbal and has a lower cognition level than his peers, Hudson has a hard time interacting and maintaining relationships with other children. He absolutely loves interaction and attention from others, so a service dog will be able to provide that in addition to serving as a conduit for social interaction with his peers. A service dog would not only be with him at home but also everyday at his school and in his community.
Because of the extensive training required from birth for a 4 Paws for Ability service dog, the cost is approximately $40,000 to provide a dog for a disabled child. We are responsible for raising $17,000 of this cost for a service dog for Hudson. Once we raise this, there is about a 2-2.5 year wait to receive Hudson’s match due to the extensive training and the number of children who are waiting for one of these service dogs. We hope to receive Hudson’s dog by the time he is 7.
My family and Hudson’s doctors truly believe a service dog will greatly benefit Hudson. We know God has special plans for Hudson and can’t wait to see them! If you would like to help us meet this goal, your gift can be made as follows:
Mail a check (with Hudson Ruh noted in the memo line) to:
4 Paws for Ability (In honor of Hudson Ruh)
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, OH 45385
If you would like to make an online donation, please visit Hudson’s fundraising page at: www.razoo.com/story/6m1c3g or go directly to www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now and include Hudson’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through Paypal.
You can also call 937-374-0385 to make a credit card donation over the phone during normal business hours.
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about Hudson and his adventure to get a service dog to bring him friendship, independence, and security! We are so thankful for any and all support!
Donovan and Tammy Ruh