Make a Dream Come True!

Every day, families around the country are raising money so their children with disabilities can receive service dogs to improve their lives. You can read some of the stories here of the children and their families working to reach their goals. Please help make a dream come true!

Charlee Olmstead


We need your help!! Charlee is a sweet and spunky two and a half year old girl with Down syndrome. She has been partnered with 4 Paws for Ability to get a service dog! Charlee loves dogs and we recently lost our family dog. They were very bonded and it’s such a big loss for Charlee. We’ve chosen to adopt a service dog to assist Charlee with independence. When Charlee is playing outside she repeatedly tries to elope (run away). We have to keep her in a stroller or shopping cart anytime we’re out. Her dog will be trained to be a tether to her or in a worst case scenario, to track and find her. Charlee also struggles with sound sensitivity and sensitivity to positional changes (such as laying down for diaper changes) and her service dog could help calm her and give her a sense of safety. Her dog will also help Charlee with balance and gait stability when navigating new surroundings. Her dog will also help to keep her calm in doctor’s offices and hospitals. She frequently pan...

Wade Butler


Wade Butler is a four-year-old with a personality that you could never forget! Wade LOVES dogs. He wants to know if you have a dog the second that he meets you. He has an infectious laugh and could brighten the dullest day. Wade and his family are working to add a service dog to their family to promote independence and to be a constant companion to Wade. They are hoping for one trained for his specific needs: mobility assistance, seizure alert, redirect behavior meltdowns, as well as be a companion during his routine medical visits where he is becoming increasingly more and more anxious as he gets older and more aware of what is going on. Wade was born with a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly within the first few weeks of pregnancy called Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele. Myelomeningocele is the most severe type of SB. When Wade was born, his spinal canal was open along several vertebrae in his lower back. His spinal nerves pushed through ...

Evelyn Huber


Evelyn has a rare genetic disorder causing low muscle tone and globally delayed development. Her diagnosis has yet to be found, and she is currently enrolled with The Rare Genome Project for further research. She is unable to talk but has started mimicking sounds. Recently she started attempting to walk unassisted but loses balance easily. Her smile and determination are contagious! She loves being outdoors and loves animals. After the loss of the beloved family dog last year (with whom she was quite bonded), her parents knew a service dog would not only help to fill that void, but would also allow her to extend her mobility and capabilities. They hope someday to see their happy little girl exploring the world on her own, with the help of a special furry friend. Visit Evelyn's Mightycuse page [HERE](https://www.mightycause.com/story/P3p14g)

Evelyn "Evie" Baumgardner


Evie is a 4 year old ball of energy! She is one of the spunkiest kids around! She loves her apple juice, mac n cheese, and cheeseburgers! She makes people smile wherever she goes. August 20th, 2019, will always be one of my favorite times with her... It was the first time she asked for a hug and continued to hug me, it lasted for such a short time but it made my heart so happy. I believe that feeling is what a autism service dog would do for Evie. Evie was diagnosed with Autism in the Fall of 2020. After a lot of speech, occupational therapies and doctors’ appointments, it became apparent Evelyn needs a little more help to optimize her independence level, quality of life, safety and mood regulation. That brought us to this world of service dogs...

Ever Dilley


Hello all! Ever is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Our days and nights are now filled with insulin shots, carb counting, and blood sugar checks for my sweet boy. It’s definitely overwhelming, but we are slowly trying to get back to a semi normal life. Of course all I have been doing is reading up on everything and trying to learn as much as possible with this new way of life. I came across 4 Paws for Ability and instantly wanted Ever to be able to have a diabetic service dog. He will have his canine companion who will be able to detect and hit on when he’s having low and high blood sugars so a disaster doesn’t happen. I never want to have to experience that. The DKA (diabetic keto acidosis) he had when we took him to the hospital before he was diagnosed was enough for me, FOREVER. So I am asking everyone, whether it be you donating yourselves or even just sharing this for us, to try and meet our goal of $17,000 to get his process started. As soon as we meet our goal, we will th...

Marlena Whitehead


Marlena Whitehead is an extraordinary girl, full of giggles and fierce curiosity. She is sweet, bubbly, vibrant, and determined. She is a twin to her brother Logan, and they are our three-year-old miracle babies. Marlena’s challenges became evident to us when she was about 12 months old. Since then, she’s regularly attended various therapies, and seen countless specialists in regards to her severe low muscle, global delays, and feeding difficulties. This April, following an extremely lengthy process of genetic and neurological testing, Marlena finally received a diagnosis of Rett Syndrome. Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of the child’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily. Rett Syndrome is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MECP2. Rett syndrome can present with a wide range of disability ranging from mild t...

Kaiden Setty


Three-year-old Kaiden Setty has been through so much in his short little life; he never loses his smile and never gives up. His parents say he is the strongest little boy they know. ##About Kaiden Kaiden was fostered and then adopted by parents, Ashley and Jerred. Kaiden had an extremely traumatic start at birth; he went without oxygen to the brain for five minutes, from that he suffered Stage 4 brain bleeds and hydrocephalus. Kaiden has had five shunt surgeries in his life and an infection in his cerebral spinal fluid. He was also diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. His parents were told that he would never be able to do anything for himself and would be wheelchair dependent for the rest of his life. He has shocked all doctors with his tremendous progress, through lots of therapy and his determination. Kaiden had his first seizure in 2020, so epilepsy was added to his diagnosis along with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and a Cognitive Impairment. A few months ago,...

Nicholas Bruewer


Five-year-old Nicholas Bruewer loves animals and has a natural curiosity to discover new things. His family is working on adding a service dog to their home. It will be a constant companion to Nicholas and his younger brother. They are hoping for one trained specifically for his needs: a service dog for ASD (Austism Spectrum Disorder), behavior disruption, tracking, and tethering. ##More About Nicholas Diagnosed at three years of age, Nicholas is constantly at risk of running off. He is non-verbal which increases the concern that he will quietly elope (wander off). Dad, James, mentioned specifically that Nicholas has quietly gone upstairs without anyone noticing his absence for periods of time. He also has a tendency to want to wander when over stimulated. This dog will be lifesaving for him because the dog will be trained to track and find him should he elope. The service dog will also be used to help ease his problems with transitions, temper tantrums, meltdowns, and throwing of ...

Bradley Becker


**MCHENRY, IL: March 3, 2021**: Five-year-old Bradley Becker loves big dogs and likes to snuggle with them. His family is working on adding one to their home, but it will be much more than a family pet. They are hoping for one trained specifically for his needs: a service dog to help Bradley with autism. ## More About Bradley Diagnosed at two years of age, Bradley is constantly at risk of running off. Mom, Amanda, explains, “We had an instance when Bradley bolted out of our house when one of his therapists opened the door to leave. We had to run after him in the middle of the street. I now have a fear that every time someone opens the door that he is going to bolt. This dog will be lifesaving for him because the dog will be trained to track and find him should he escape.” The service dog will also be used to help ease his problems with transitions, temper tantrums, meltdowns, and head banging. ##What the Service Dog Will Do Here are the tasks Bradley’s dog will be specifically ...

Sydney Frace


Hello, I want to introduce my 11 year old daughter Sydney. Sydney is a super smart and funny 6th grader. She loves anime, video games, swimming, family and her 2 cats. Sydney’s journey has not always been easy but you would never know looking at her that she has a form of epilepsy. Sydney has always had some issues with muscle tone and balance when growing up but we did not think much of it. She then was diagnosed with ADHD at 9 years old. Fast forward to Jan 31st 2020...Sydney had her first seizure at home. We did not know what was going on and got to Children’s Hospital in Washington DC right away and saw an amazing pediatric neurologist, Dr. Difazio. After many tests and MRI,s Sydney was diagnosed with frontal cortical dysplasia (FCD), which is a form of epilepsy. It is a congenital abnormality where there is an abnormal organization of the layers of the brain and bizarre appearing neurons. FCD can be drug resistant and in some children may require brain surgery fo...

Tinsley Mae Kimbrel


Tinsley has been partnered with 4 Paws for Ability to get a service dog! This soon to be best friend for Tinsley will be such a great addition for her as she learns and grows to help her with all sorts of things. We are looking forward to it helping her with different daily tasks some as simple as navigating curbs, to stairs and other elevation changes, it will also help by giving her some extra stability and independence when she is out and about walking or when she needs help up from laying or sitting on the floor back up to standing. Not only will this doggo be able to help her with her mobility it will also be able to accompany her to all of her doctor appointments, her weekly full day infusions at the hospital, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and any other surgeries or outings. This doggy full be a great social bridge for Tinsley out in the world navigating her rare, progressive disease in public. Tinsley was diagnosed at 15 months with a rare and progressive metabolic...

Cameron Stowe


Cameron is a typical 13 year old boy who loves to play video games and ride his bike. He also loves to play with his cars and trucks, and go swimming. However, things were never very easy for Cameron from the very beginning. When he was born, his stomach was not attached to his esophagus and he was flown to another hospital to have a 7 hour surgery, where they gave him a 50/50 chance to live. However, our little survivor pulled through. That was the first challenge in his life, and since then he has many others to deal with. Cameron was diagnosed with autism, an intellectual disability, and most recently, epilepsy. Cameron has always struggled with anxiety and has repetitive behaviors, but ever since the seizures have started his behaviors have changed. He now has a lot of meltdowns and becomes more confrontational. He seems much more distressed and not at peace many times. It makes us very sad to see our sweet little boy this way. Cameron is very excited that he has been accep...

Ezra Santos


Ezra Santos is a sweet, happy, energetic 4-year-old who has an extremely rare genetic condition that is causing him to lose all his abilities. Ezra is expected to be completely wheelchair bound, unable to speak, eat, and control any of his movements within the next few years. He has seizures that will likely become harder to control and his respiratory health will decline. A service dog will have a huge impact on Ezra’s quality of life. We are so thankful that 4 Paws for Ability has approved him to receive a dog.

Martin Hulsey


Martin is a precious, loving and energetic 4-year-old who is fiercely curious about the world around him. At the age of 2, He was diagnosed with nonverbal autism. Martin struggles with communicating his needs and desires, socialization, and stemming behavior which includes an ever present risk of elopement and escape. Although there is no cure for autism, with a service dog, barriers are minimized and Martin is given another tool to better manage his autism and live his best life. We are thrilled to announce Martin has been approved to receive an autism service dog through 4 Paws for Ability. 4 Paws Autism Assistance Dogs will be trained in a variety of tasks to assist Martin. These include behavior disruption to distract and disrupt repetitive behaviors or meltdowns, tethering to prevent and protect Martin from wandering, and search and rescue tracking to locate Martin if he has wandered. An Autism Assistance Dog would benefit Martin in many ways, such as: * Performing deep p...

Avery Brothers


Avery is an amazing, smart, and playful 4-year-old who is filled with joy. He was diagnosed with Nonverbal Autism and major sensory food aversions when he was just over 2 years old. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is no cure for Autism, however, there are a number of interventions and tools which have proven effective in helping a person with Autism. One tool can be an Autism Service Dog, which we feel is perfect for Avery based on his love for dogs. After extensive research and consideration, we decided to start the process of getting him an Autism Service Dog through 4 Paws for Ability. 4 Paws Autism Assistance Dogs can be trained in a variety of tasks to assist a child. These include behavior disruption to distract and disrupt repetitive behaviors or meltdowns, tethering to prevent and protect a child from wandering, and search and rescue tracking to locate a child who...

Bria Chapman


Bria Kate is our sweet, spunky, and feisty 19 month old daughter. Bria has a rare genetic disorder called Syngap1-related disorder. Due to this, sweet Bria battles every day with hypotonia, seizures, global developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, and vision impairment. Syngap1-related disorder often presents with autism as well and while she is too young to be diagnosed at this time, it may be in her future. She is mostly nonverbal which makes communication extremely frustrating for her. We are trying to raise funds to provide sweet Bria with a service dog. Bria absolutely loves animals. Her face lights up with joy whenever she is around them. This service dog would open up a whole new world for our girl. Bria’s hypotonia means her muscles are floppy and she tires very quickly. The dog would be trained in mobility to support her while walking, going up and down stairs, and pick up items she drops. Bria can get very frustrated and overwhelmed at times. This can lead to melt...

Daniel Thornton


Daniel is our funny and sweet loving 9-year-old son. He was diagnosed with Level 2 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and moderate to severe Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) at age 5. Daniel struggles to regulate himself emotionally, wanders easily, and has difficulty making friends and fitting in as most kids with ASD face. This not only interferes with his social life at school, but can affect as a family where we go, who we see, and the types of activities we take part in. My husband, Daniel's dad, travels for a living and being by myself can limit us due to having 2 boys versus 1 mom on outings! Daniel has been approved for an Autism Assistance Service Dog from 4 Paws For Ability! This is where we need your help. We have been working toward getting to this point for 2 years. As some of you know Daniel used to be absolutely terrified of animals. Thank goodness he is finally ready!!! These dogs are incredible in every way. We feel it will not only enhance Daniel's ...

Luca DePento


Luca is a bright and beautiful eight-year-old boy. He is very friendly, open, and loves to be of help. He delights being in the outdoors and using his limited verbal communication skills to play with other children in the community. He loves to look at his books in his room. He loves nature and is more comfortable outdoors than anywhere else. **The Autism Spectrum Diagnosis** Luca was diagnosed with Mild to Moderate Autism in 2012. Mom, Kathleen, explains: “This has caused a total change to our family and we are educating our family members to the best of our ability. Luca struggles to cope with the world around him and the turmoil inside. His motor planning disorder means that he is often unable to verbally express the thoughts in his head.” Luca is enrolled in speech and occupational therapy, which are helping, but he really struggles with some sensations he encounters from the minute he awakens. Everything from wearing appropriate clothing and brushing his teeth, to the sounds ...

Liam Espina


Paws 4 Liam is devoted to providing Liam with a service dog specially trained to help a special little boy with autism. Liam is a 6- year-old boy from Glenview, IL who needs the help of a service dog to help him navigate the difficulties of autism. We have connected with Paws 4 Ability, who will be training Liam’s new pal to help him with communication, mobility, and for Liam’s safety to ensure he stays close. When Liam was born, he was already melting hearts, with his intense gazes and infectious laughter. Before Liam was 1, he began physical therapy due to his inability to turn himself over or crawl. By 17 months, we started to suspect something wasn’t quite right. Liam was not walking, and he was communicating by sounds alone. Liam initially was diagnosed with early developmental delay and began both Speech and OT Therapy. By age three, his verbal communication had not improved, and his anxiety levels began to increase. He would get frustrated and he could not express himself or ...

Gavyn Cook


Hello and thank you for reading my son’s story. Please let me introduce you to my 9-year-old son Gavyn. He is a very sweet boy who loves animals, playing video games, listening to music and helping others. He has suffered from abandonment issues, emotional abuse and neglect that lead us to seeking help and guidance for my son. After a year and a half of therapy, neuropsychological and other exams, we learned that my son suffers from Generalized Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and potentially PTSD. This helps explain why he has been developmentally behind, had meltdowns, focus issues, impulse control issues and issues forming relationships with other people, including his peers. Based on the determinations from doctors and talking to others who have the same issues, we were told about applying to 4 Paws for Ability for a service dog, as they thought it might be beneficial to Gavyn to help with some of the life challenges. Therefore, I applied to 4 Paws for Ability and completed the appli...