Imagine: Mark with a life-changing service dog imageMark is a 13 year old boy who loves his iPads, loves to read books, loves to swim, and enjoys playing with his stuffed “friends”. Mark was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes him to have multiple disabilities and global developmental delays. Mark spent the first 18 months of his life in a laundry basket filled with foam rubber due to his low motor tone but through hard work and many hours of therapy he can now walk unassisted. Mark still uses a transport chair for long distances. He suffers from apraxia and is labeled nonverbal but uses his electronic devices and a few phrases to communicate with us. Mark demonstrates autistic like behaviors and needs help to calm down. Mark does not recognize dangerous situations and will walk out into traffic if not supervised. Mark suffers from sleep apnea and a severe circadian rhythm disorder. These sleep issues have kept Mark, his father and me from sleeping through the night for 13 years. Imagine Mark being able to sleep through the night. Imagine Mark having a few ‘feet’ of independence, being tethered to his dog walking through the mall, fair, or amusement park. Imagine Mark not needing to ride in his transport chair just so he doesn’t get swept up in a crowd or wander away to explore his environment. Imagine me, his mom, having a sense of security knowing that if he should run away his service dog could track him and find him quickly, quite possibly saving his life!!!!! A multipurpose service dog would also use deep pressure, kisses, and snuggling to disrupt negative behaviors, therefore decreasing Mark’s anxiety and helping him with social interaction. Although Mark has been accepted as a service dog recipient, we need help from the community to make the dream a reality as we enter the fundraising portion of the process. It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with Mark. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now) and use Paypal or mail a check with Mark’s name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of Mark Tyskiewicz, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.