Hello, This is our son, Jack who is 9 years old. Both Jack and his older sister, Abby, have Autism. Abby was born April 4, 2007 followed by her brother Jack 18 months later on Sept. 24 2008. Abby was diagnosed with Autism right before her 3rd birthday and Jack was diagnosed at age 4 1/2. Currently, Abby is completely nonverbal and Jack has a very limited vocabulary.
When Abby was 5 years old she started eloping. As you can imagine losing a child is a terrifying experience. Around this time we became aware of 4 Paws For Ability through our friends, the Autens. In August of 2014, we were blessed with what we like to call our “3rd child” Hooley. Hooley is an Autism Service Dog for both Abby and Jack. He came just in time, shortly after he arrived Jack started eloping as well.
Hooley has been a blessing in so many different ways. His most important job is tracking, he is able to locate both children if either should wander away. We have had one successful track in real life. In the fall of 2016, Abby wandered away and Hooley located her in a matter seconds. He has literally prevented dozens of potential incidents by preventing them from leaving our house whenever they open a door or start to leave our yard.
But he does so much more than that! Both children can be tethered to Hooley when we go in public. Which prevents them from wandering away. He calms the children when they become upset and helps them sleep through the night. He also provides numerous social interactions with typical functioning peers our children would not otherwise have.
When we first got Hooley, we decided to send him to Jack’s school. However, as Hooley matured and Abby started self-harming, we moved him with Abby. When this happened, Jack regressed and started having extreme behaviors as well. Though we got Hooley for both children, over the last few years he has become more of Abby’s service dog. He sleeps with Abby and goes to school with her full time.
Currently, it’s about a two year waiting list for a dog, after we meet our fundraising goal. Hooley will be nearing retirement at that time. The new dog will be able to serve both children just like Hooley. However, the new dog will primarily serve Jack until Hooley’s retirement.
It costs at least $46,000 to specially train a 4 Paws dog. Families cover only a portion of that cost. We are fundraising to help cover the fee required to provide him with a life-changing service dog.
Please join us in our goal – to raise $17,000 by Christmas! It will be an amazing Christmas present for our family.
Donations in support of Jack should be made directly to 4 Paws for Ability – be sure to write Jack Hoeniges on the memo line. Mail checks to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Jack Hoeniges
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.
If you wish to make an online donation, the website is www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now. Include Jack’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. You may also call to make a credit card donation over the phone at (937) 374-0385 – Monday thru Friday 9AM to 4PM EST.
Andy & Donnell Hoeniges