First off, I’d like to say THANK YOU to anyone who takes the time out of their day to read about our son! I wanted to tell you all a little about Josiah, and what a service dog will do for him.
A NOT SO TYPICAL STORY… ABOUT A NOT SO TYPICAL GUY.
Josiah is a three year old handsome, amazingly strong, happy and easy going boy. Behind all of his smiles you would never be able to guess what all has happened to him in just a couple years. Our son was born in February 2014. He looked perfectly healthy and normal, but inside he had issues we couldn’t even begin to imagine. By a day old, he couldn’t keep down his milk, and was unable to have a bowel movement. He was placed in NICU because he was very sick. By 6 days old a rectal biopsy confirmed our son has Hirschsprungs Disease, a rare bowel disease that occurs in 1 in 5,000 births. His disease causes the cells that are responsible for moving stool down and out of the body to not work. At just 8 days old he had surgery that ultimately saved his life. He had a colostomy placed and we were told after a year, he would need another surgery to reverse it. We took our baby boy home at two weeks old! It took a lot of adjusting, research, and time and tears to get a “new normal” for our family and home. As time went by we noticed several other issues. He was having food sensitivities and eating problems. He was very behind on milestones; he was delayed physically, verbally, cognitively and socially. He also has low muscle tone, called hypotonia. At 20 months old, he went on to have his second surgery for his bowel disease. He had a week long hospital stay and during this surgery they reversed his colostomy, removed the non-working bowel, and reattached what was left of good bowel back to his rectum. They had to poke and prod on him ALOT. This was when my son really began to fear doctors, nurses, or just anyone who was trying to do anything to him. As the months went on he had a couple more week long hospital stays due to issues from his bowel disease. There was more poking and prodding, which was all very traumatic to him, so his fear of the doctors and nurses grew even more. And even with all of this going on, we still had his delays to address, we noticed many signs of autism before he was even a year old, and at two years old he was officially diagnosed as moderate-severe on the autism spectrum. So, as you can see our son has gone a whole lot in his little bit of life! Our life is definitely affected by both his bowel disease and his autism. We have many fears and anxieties over his delays and this is why we’re seeking an autism service dog.
HOW AUTISM AFFECTS JOSIAH.
Josiah is now three years old, and is still considered non-verbal. He is often “in his own world”, with no sense of danger, and he will bolt/wander if I’m not holding his hand at every moment with a death grip! He doesn’t really have much interest in people at all, and cannot answer basic questions, like what is your name, or what’s your parent’s name, etc. He has some odd object obsessions, like canes, walkers, vacuums, strollers, wagons, etc. When we’re out he seeks these objects, if he spots one he gets upset that he cannot have it. IF he actually gets ahold of one of these items, and I have to remove it from him, he has a 30 minute meltdown, which at the time there’s just no calming him down. His sister is just one year older than him, and because of these difficulties and the danger it poses to take them out by myself, I avoid doing so. I am always terrified and I cannot keep an eye on both of them at the same time, and don’t feel safe doing so. His autism affects more than just him, it affects our entire family.
SO, HOW WILL A SERVICE DOG HELP US?
A service dog would greatly benefit our family life, but for my son I believe this dog will be life changing. This dog will be trained to be tethered to him, so that if he were to try to run off the dog would actually plop down and not allow him to do so. If, for some reason he were to ever escape, the dog will also be able to track him. We take great precautions currently to keep our son safe in our house, but he’s becoming bigger, stronger, and more adventurous, which just equals more danger for him, and a lot more fear and anxiety for us as parents! Lastly, the dog would also be trained in behavior disruption, the dog can help distract him, and if he needed to be calmed, the dog would lay on our son’s lap, or cuddle with him to help soothe him. For our future doctor visits, or hospitals stays his dog will be right by his side the whole time. We want what is absolutely best for him, encouraging him to continue to grow, learn, and become as independent and successful as possible, and we believe a service dog will richly benefit his life. So we are very humbly and desperately asking for help! If it is within your hearts and within your means to help, we appreciate ALL help, rather it is financial help, or prayers, or sharing our story!! WE TRULY THANK YOU!!!
It costs at least $40,000 to specially train a dog for Josiah. Families cover only a portion of that cost, a fee of $17,000. We are fundraising to help cover the fee required to provide him with a life-changing service dog. Donations in support of Josiah should be made directly to 4 Paws for Ability – be sure to write Josiah Williams on the memo line. Mail checks to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Josiah Williams
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.
If you wish to make an online donation, the website is www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now . Include Josiah’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.
Thank you for your support!