Louie is a bright and beautiful 10 year old boy. He is very friendly, open, and loves to be of help. He delights in the opportunity to help or teach children smaller than he. He loves books and nature and is more comfortable outdoors than anywhere else. His favorite activity is creating artwork and he is passionate about the tools: pens, pencils, markers, crayons and paint. He’s invented his own alter-ego, Colorman. He was born with a unique chromosomal deletion on the 7th chromosome. This has caused growth impairment, apraxia of speech, sensory integration dysfunction, many food sensitivities and immune impairment. Throughout his life he has been diagnosed with numerous disorders: ADHD, ODD and SPD to name a few. Every minute of the Louie struggles within himself 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. He has worked with a speech therapist several times a week since he was two and will likely continue until he is an adult.
He struggles with the sensations he encounters from the minute he awakens. Everything from wearing appropriate clothing and brushing his teeth, to the sounds of his home and family around him, even the appearance and order of objects in his environment create impediments to his ability to function. He is easily overwhelmed and upset. When that occurs he frequently runs away without regard to his safety. He has run into traffic, water and other hazards. He can hurt himself or others in his effort to calm the internal storm he experiences. Because of his apraxia he is unable to communicate with other people, to tell his name, if he’s been hurt or what his situation is.
His diet is extremely limited. Not being able to share in the treats that others around him enjoy is a disappointment. But many otherwise healthy foods cause him anxiety, emotional disturbance, rage, aggression, tics and OCD. Some of these sensitivities are to things we cannot control. Many times every year he barely functions.
Having an assistance dog to partner with Louie would be a life changing blessing providing independence, security and comfort. A service dog will help keep Louie safe by walking on a tether when hand holding or other restraint is overwhelming for Louie. A dog could alert us when Louie’s circumstances cause him to bolt and run away. His dog could then help find him. His dog could provide calming sensory input, interrupt or redirect inappropriate behavior, provide familiarity in unfamiliar circumstances and be a friend that can walk with him through the anxious circumstances of his life.
It costs 4 Paws more than $40,000 to raise and properly train a service dog with our son’s specific needs in mind. We are committed to raise $17,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission. Our fundraising will help us obtain a service dog through 4 Paws for Louie. The money we raise will go directly to 4 Paws for the purpose of helping them care for and train these special animals. This organization helps many children and adults who need an assistant or service dog for their disabilities and we are excited to help our son as well as helping this organization continue its work for others in need.
If you can help us with a donation in Louie’s name, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include Louie’s name on the donation as instructed in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of your Authorize.net donation. Donations can also be made by mailing a check with Louie’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Louie Rufener
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385
Online donations can also be made through Mighty Cause: https://www.mightycause.com/story/4pawsforlouie
You may also call 4 Paws directly to make a credit card donation over the phone at (937) 374-0385 – Monday thru Friday 9AM to 4PM EST.