Alexis Spaniol is a very sweet ten-year-old girl who loves animals, enjoys playing video games, and likes listening to music. Creative, inquisitive, intelligent, compassionate, and unique are all words her mom, Heather, uses to describe Alexis.
But Alexis has experienced hardship due to her disability. Alexis has Autism and has violent meltdowns, trouble focusing on specific topics, suffers from impulse control, and has difficulty forming relationships with other people.
Mom, Heather, describes the difficulty Alexis has, “When you see your child struggling every day, it is heartbreaking. It is so hard to see the shining, unique personality of your little girl being overtaken by anxiety, uncontrollable outbursts, and self-harming behaviors such as picking and negative self-talk.”
Hope in a Service Dog
Alexis’s family believes that the addition of a service dog that has been specifically bred and trained to meet Alexis's needs will serve as a valuable therapeutic tool for Alexis's intervention, at home and school. This added support will give her the independence for everyday tasks that people take for granted. Alexis has an overwhelming love for animals. Mom, Heather, elaborates, “Sometimes social/emotional communication taught by non-human counterparts can help us grow in our understanding of the world. This is just one piece of the very difficult puzzle we are trying to
piece together for her.” Alexis has been accepted by 4 Paws for Ability to receive a professionally trained Autism Assistance dog; 4 Paws specializes in training service dogs for children with disabilities, including autism. Her dog will be trained in behavior disruption, tethering, and tracking.
How the Community Can Help
It will cost 4 Paws between $40,000 – $60,000 to train Alexis's service dog and 4 Paws asks that each family raises $17,000 of that cost. Insurance does not cover the cost of a service dog nor do local or state government programs provide any sort of financial assistance in obtaining a service dog for Alexis.
If you would like to help this young girl receive a life-saving service dog, there are three ways to help:
Attend a Poker Run on Saturday, September 26 at the Glacial Lakes Harley Davidson, 1000 19th Street SE, Watertown. Registration 10:30 – 11:45 AM. Kickstands up at noon. Cost $20 per hand; 2 winning hands will be paid. Route information will be provided at registration. Food will be provided at the end of the run with a free-will offering; 50/50 tickets, table auction, t-shirts, and more will also add to the fun. Plus, a 4 Paws for Ability service dog, Wishes, will be present. HickTown Mafia will be playing after the run.
To donate by check, make payable to 4 Paws for Ability with Alexis Spaniol in the memo field and mail to 4 Paws for Ability, 207 Dayton Avenue, Xenia, OH 45385.
Thank you for your consideration.