Daniel Thornton

By | Make a Dream Come True

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 VS 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 life but our families as well. These amazing furry friends not only provide a companion for Daniel, but will help redirect him when he is over stimulated, upset, or stimming. Over time we have the possibility of these struggles being reduced thanks to the dog! They are also trained to tether to the child to keep them from wandering. If Daniel were to wander off at any time whether we are home, camping, or a friend’s house, the dog can track him and is trained to do so! 

Ultimately, when we asked Daniel why he wanted a Service Dog (SD) he replied with, “So I always have a friend to play with at school”. Hearing this as parents, our hearts broke and we decided the cost of the dog is priceless to provide him a companion so he never feels alone.

The cost of the dog will not stop us, our portion to raise is $17,000. With some outstanding love and support we have raised $3,470 so far, leaving us a remainder of $13,530. This is where we could use your help to make Daniel’s dream come true! 

Donations in love and support of Daniel can be made online via the website: www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now


By check via mail: 4 Paws For Ability

In honor of Daniel Thornton

253 Dayton Ave.

Xenia, OH 45385


Thank you for all who choose to support us in our journey and God Bless!   




Gavyn Cook

By | Make a Dream Come True

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 application process which included, medical documentation and other approvals. Gavyn was approved for the program and now we have agreed to raise $17,000 for 4 Paws for Ability. Training a service dog to meet the requirements can be very costly.  On average it costs between $40,000-60,000 to raise, train, and place a service dog at 4 Paws for Ability. I am tasked with raising $17,000 of that amount and am hoping that we can receive assistance to make Gavyn’s dream come true.

Gavyn has been approved for a multi-purpose service dog that will help Gavyn and improve his way of life.  The dog will help him through training to interrupt an escalation or meltdown, detect anxiety and apply deep pressure and encourage some social lubrication. In addition, this will give Gavyn a non-judgmental, 24/7 friend who will love him unconditionally and show him that not everyone leaves. We believe this will help Gavyn become more independent and successful in life.

Gavyn was my miracle baby as when I was 17, my doctors told me I would never have children.  When I was 26, I found out I was pregnant with him and had a very rough pregnancy where I almost lost him. Since then he has had a very rough 9 years experiencing things no kid should ever have to. It is a mother’s worst nightmare being told by her 5 year old that he is unlovable, unwanted and that he can’t do anything right.  A service dog can make a positive impact on the rest Gavyn’s life that NO amount of therapy, medication or alternative therapy is able to do.

How can YOU help Gavyn?

Donations in support of Gavyn should be made directly to 4 Paws for Ability – be sure to write Gavyn’s name on the memo line.  Mail checks to:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Gavyn Cook
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.

If you wish to make an online donation, the website is www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now .  Include Gavyn’s name in the memo line so that the amount is credited to his account!


Alexi Janae “AJ” Oliveira-Golden

By | Make a Dream Come True

My child’s full name is Alexijanae Kanani Oliveira-Golden. She had medical issues at birth. She is suffering from a rare disorder called Schizencephaly. And Texas Children’s Hospital diagnosed her with Dyskinetic quadropalegic cerebral palsy in 2008.

She has clefts in the hemisphere surface. It’s a disorder that takes place in normal neuron migration during the second trimester. At this time primitive neuron precursors migrate from just beneath the Ventricular ependyma to the peripheral hemispheres where they form the cortical grey matter, causing quadriparesis.

Alexijanae also has microgyria on her brain, which they say is attributed to a genetic defect. She doesn’t walk, doesn’t have good arm reach, and is hard to understand; however she is very smart and cognitive. Her limbs and tongue muscle are her main issues.

She needs a service dog more than anyone I know. We face challenges every day. She wants independence, freedom, she wants to dance and be in gymnastics, she wants to do her own dressing and take her own shoes off . . . but she can’t.

She also has Septo-optic dysplasia and has had two eye surgeries. Plus, she just had her hip sliced in two and put back together. She needs help doing everything; however she is in normal grade school classes.

Alexijanae loves kids and life! She needs a chance in life to make it! She loves Disney and we want to go. She is outgoing and a leader. She loves our church. She wants to become a singer, loves high school musicals, and she loves watching her older brother.

We heard about 4 Paws for Ability (a nonprofit agency) and their Mobility Service Dogs. We think obtaining a dog for Alexijanae would be beneficial to her and us. 4 Paws has a unique approach to placement. They partner with their clients and by doing so are able to place dogs without a long waiting list. A service dog would be ideal because it would give Alexijanae independence, help, support, and a 24/7 friend.

I want so much for Alexijanae and her sister Alia to have everything life has to offer, including excellent gymnastics and dance. Alexijanae loves to sing and maybe at some point she can have a scholarship for voice lessons. She’s getting an awesome education. There are many things she yearns to do, like play baseball. And someday she wants to get married and have children.

It will cost 4 Paws over $40,000 to place a dog with Alexijanae. We are committed to raising $17,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help. If you can help, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now) or mail a check with her name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Alexijanae Oliveira-Golden
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you.


Amelia Kilby

By | Make a Dream Come True

Hi!  We are the Kilby Family, and we would love to introduce the sweet little monkey we call our daughter, Amelia.  Amelia, or Amy for short, is the sweetest two-year-old that we know!  She is full of smiles when she’s in the right mood, loves the tickle monster, and adores anything made of yarn.  Amy has also been diagnosed with autism, global development delay, pervasive sensory disorder, and speech delay.

For anyone not familiar with what autism, or ASD, is, it is a sensory processing disorder that presents a lot of challenges with social skills, repetitive behavior, speech and non-verbal communication.  Autism comes in a wide variety of variations and levels, with 1 being the most “high functioning” and 3 being the most “low functioning”.  Amy is considered a level 3 on the autism spectrum.  Amelia’s language delay means that she is completely non-verbal; she doesn’t use sign language nor does she grunt or point to get what she wants or needs.
Recently, we submitted an application to 4 Paws For Ability after recommendations from Amelia’s occupational therapist, physical therapist, and her current team of doctors.  4 Paws specializes in training service dogs for children and adults with disabilities, including autism.  Each dog is trained specifically to fit the needs of the child that they are matched with!  What this means is that Amy’s dog will be trained to tether with her, preventing wandering; tracking just in case she does wander away, balance support, and alerting to her changes in mood.
As you can probably imagine, this kind of dedicated training isn’t cheap.  4 Paws funds most of the $40,000-$60,000 with the family only responsible for $17,000.  Insurance refuses to cover anything relating to the cost, so we’re collecting donations for this amazing tool to help Amy, and any little bit helps!
If you can help Amelia, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Please include Amelia’s full name on the donation as instruction in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the Authorize.net donation.  Donations can also be made by mailing a check with Amelia’s full name on the memo line to:
4 Paws For Ability
In Honor of Amelia Kilby
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Sarah J. Kilby


Liam Espina

By | Make a Dream Come True

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 could not communicate verbally with us and began banging his head.

At age 4 Liam was diagnosed with Autism. We embarked on the journey to learn anything and everything we could so that we understand some of the challenges that Liam will face. Our family was introduced to all sorts of abbreviations and acronyms, such as non-verbal, ABA, IEP, Echoic stemming, picture schedules, transition plans and sensory overload, just to name a few. Kids with Autism are all so very different. The saying, “Once you met one child with Autism, you have met one child with Autism” is very true. The main reason we started researching service dogs was due to Liam’s inability to understand what is safe. Liam will run at a moment’s notice putting himself at risk. Our family researched so many different Organizations and groups. It wasn’t until we saw for our own eyes the amazing impact a service dog has on autistic children at the Child Neurology Conference. These
amazing furry heroes’ and the Organizations that train them are amazing. Our research uncovered so much more that service dogs can do. The Service 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 has wandered. To read more about Service Dogs that are trained specifically for autistic children, https://www.rover.com/blog/service-dogs-benefit-autistic-community/

Today, Liam is a, lively and lovable six-year-old who enjoys being outside, running and making his big sister, his Dad and I laugh. He brightens our day and has taught us to celebrate small wins. Liam loves lots of squeezes and pressure for comfort when things are overwhelming or too intense. He has no safety awareness, so Liam requires constant attention and monitoring to prevent him from falling, banging himself against surfaces, wandering or running away.

Liam also has anxiety issues and while he is semi-verbal he uses phrase or sounds in repetition as a coping mechanism. The “repetitive verbal stemming” often keeps him from engaging socially and keeps him from communicating. Liam started 1st grade, which includes new exciting and challenging adventures. Our hope is that Liam’s furry hero, can help him navigate these adventures from the perspective of his special world.

Cost for a Service Dog
It costs more than $40,000 to professionally raise and train a service dog that can meet Liam’s exact needs. Our family is reaching out to ask our friends, families, the community and corporate sponsors to help us reach our goal of bringing his service dog home. Our family will cover a portion of this cost, while we are fundraising for the remaining $17,000, to secure a service dog for Liam.

How you can make a difference
If you can make a donation towards Liam’s service dog, please visit the 4 Paws donation page:

Include “Liam Espina” in the “instructions to merchant” through Authorize.Net. Donations can also be made by mailing a check to 4 Paws for Ability (details below).

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Liam Espina
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.

Please be sure to include “Liam Espina” on the memo line of the check. Please feel free to contact us at paws4liam@gmail.com and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have or discuss how your generous donation and support can make a huge difference in Liam’s life.


Luca DePinto

By | Make a Dream Come True

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 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 can be easily overwhelmed and upset.  When that occurs, Luca frequently runs away without regard to his safety.  He has run into traffic, water, and other hazards.

How an Autism Assistance Dog Will Help

Having an assistance dog to partner with Luca would be life-changing–providing independence, security, and comfort.  A service dog will help keep Luca safe by using a tether when hand-holding is overwhelming for him.  The dog will be trained to alert to his parents when Luca bolts and runs away and will be trained to track him. His dog will be taught behavior disruption techniques, which 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.  His dog would assist Luca in attending more family functions and activities rather than having him isolate himself.

4 Paws for Ability

“Our family chose 4 Paws for Ability because it started the Autism Assistance Dog with search and rescue ability and is the largest organization providing Autism Assistance Dogs to children with no minimum age and no geographic restriction. It costs 4 Paws more than $40,000 to raise and properly train a service dog with our son’s specific needs in mind,” Kathleen noted. His family is committed to raise $17,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission. The money will go directly to 4 Paws for the purpose of helping them care for and train his life-saving dog.  4 Paws can be seen in action in Episode 1 of “Dogs” on Netflix.

How You Can Provide This Life-Saving Gift

If you can help Luca, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include Luca’s name on the donation as instructed in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the Authorize.net donation.  Donations can also be made by mailing a check with Luca’s name on the memo line to:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Luca DePinto
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385


Christian Alford

By | Make a Dream Come True

We would like for you to meet our son Christian.  He is our pride and joy!! Christian was born January 16, 2013 a seemingly healthy boy.  Between 12 months and 24 months of age, we noticed he did not talk as much as other children his age or play with other children in his class.  He also made a humming noise most of the time.  When he was 2 years old we took him for his 24 month checkup and the doctor told us what we were already thinking.  He wanted to have him further tested for Autism.  In December of 2015 it was confirmed and our sweet Christian was diagnosed with  Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech and Language Disorder and Delayed Developmental milestones.  He is now 3-1/2 years old and communicates some but many of his words are hard to understand unless you are around him all the time and just know what he is trying to say.  He does not handle large groups of people well and does not handle being in new places or disruptions to his normal daily routine.  He gets frustrated a lot because he sometimes cannot make everyone understand what he wants or needs, and sometimes self-harms himself during his frustration.  He really has to be watched continuously because he is a climber and very active and does not understand danger.  When in public we have to hold tightly to him because he will run or wander away from us.

We came across some information about autism service dogs and decided to look around for possible ways to get one for our son.  We stumbled upon an organization called 4 Paws for Ability in Ohio who provides service dogs trained especially for children like Christian.  We went through the application process and were excited to hear that our son is approved and accepted into the program!!  We feel a service dog will help our son become more social and to help with behavior disruption (self-harming, meltdowns) and Christian will be tethered to the dog in public places to help keep him from running or wandering away.

It costs 4 Paws more than $22,000 to raise and properly train a service dog with our son’s specific needs in mind.  We are committed to raise $15,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission.  The money we raise will go to 4 Paws for Ability directly, to help them to care for and train these special animals.  Our fundraising will help us obtain a service dog through 4 Paws for our son.  This organization helps many children and adults who need an assistance or service dog for their disabilities and we are excited to help our son as well as help this organization continue their work for others in need.

All donations should be made DIRECTLY to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Christian Alford
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.

Please make checks out to 4 Paws for Ability and please make sure to write on your check memo line – “In honor of Christian Alford” – so that we receive the points from your donation.  If you wish to make a donation on-line, the website is www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now , include Christian’s name in the memo line. 4 Paws will send a thank you letter to all donors!

Thank you for helping us,

Bradley and Tiffany Alford


Jana Walther

By | Make a Dream Come True

The Walther family is raising money for their daughter, Jana Walther, to receive a seizure alert service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. Jana suffers from unexpected seizures that have forced her to give up the activities and independence she enjoys. The Walther family hopes that Jana having a service dog to alert her and her family of seizures and comfort her in adversity will be the next step in helping her to regain independence. The family has raised $3,337 of their $17,000 goal and would like to ask the community to donate to their cause.


Jana is a very active member of church and youth group as well as a cooking, baking, equine, and dance enthusiast. These are all activities she loves but have been adversely affected by unexpected seizures, which can arise at any time. A service dog can give Jana warning of seizures and comfort her when they occur. A service dog is especially vital for Jana at night if she were to have a seizure in her sleep. Seizure alert service dogs are trained to alert the family so Jana can receive the help she needs. The Walther family truly believes that Jana and her dog will be “better together” and truly change their lives.


If individuals would like to donate to Jana’s cause, they can see her Facebook fundraiser “Tara’s Fundraiser for 4 Paws for Jana” at https://www.facebook.com/donate/668532200729420/ (Individuals are also able to send a check directly to 4 Paws with Jana Walther on the memo line to 207 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.


About 4 Paws: Founded in 1998, 4 Paws for Ability, Inc., is a non-profit agency with global outreach serving children, veterans, and adults with disabilities by providing service dogs to those in need.  The training of a service dog is recipient specific with a focus on Autism Assistance dogs, Mobility Assistance dogs, Seizure Assistance Dogs, among others. The 4 Paws Organization was featured in Episode 1 of “Dogs” on Netflix


Lewis Hay III

By | Make a Dream Come True

I would like you to meet Lewis, my son who is 8 ½ years old.  Lewis was diagnosed with ND-PAE (Neurodevelopmental Disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure) a fancy term for Fetal alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  Lewis came to our family as an infant in a private adoption.  He started out life as a typical infant.  At around 13 months I noticed changes in his behavior, from eating issues, to sleeping issues, some health issues as well.  We just plugged along for many years watching his behaviors become more and more unsettling.  Once in school, his behaviors escalated and the cause for concern escalated as well.  In June of 2019 Lewis was finally diagnosed. It was a diagnosis that not only caused fear in my heart, but also it was a relief to know just what we were dealing with.  Lewis suffers from moderate depression, dysregulation with his emotions and is subject to outbursts and anxiety daily. He is the sweetest, most compassionate child who loves his pets (especially his chickens), loves Minecraft, riding his bike and his hoverboard.   A service dog will not only help Lewis in his daily life, learning to navigate the world with lots of changes and decisions to make, but also to assist him in regulation of his emotions, and handling situations where his anxiety gets the better of him. 

Lewis’s doctors and I believe that an FASD service dog would greatly benefit him.  A service dog would offer him friendship, independence and security.  It would be trained to cope with his behaviors, offer him affection and touch stimulus to help calm him. The dog would also hopefully help Lewis make friends his own age and would provide some independence and security for my son. He would also be trained to track Lewis, should we become separated for any reason.

Would you please consider a donation to assist us in reaching our fundraising goal of $17,000.00?  I have selected 4 Paws for Ability to be our service dog provider because of their excellent reputation. 4 Paws was the first agency in the United States to begin placing highly skilled FASD assistance Dogs and the first agency known to place these assistance dogs with tracking skills.


Help In Trying Times

By | New News!
Dear Friends of 4 Paws:
Many of us feel helpless during this time of uncertainty. At 4 Paws for Ability, we are feeling helpless right along with you.
If you are unsure how to help, perhaps you would like to donate directly to 4 Paws as a one-time rapid response donation? We are already experiencing an economic fallout from the Coronavirus Epidemic. Our donations are dropping, our onsite volunteers are not as active so our staff is taking on additional duties leading to overtime, and social distancing is ultimately going to slow the progress of our service dogs in training since their weekly outings will be greatly reduced, which will increase the time we have our dogs in training, which increases our expenses.
Your past support of 4 Paws has helped our children, veterans, and adults get the much-needed, and in some cases, life-saving service dogs they need. We could really use your help right now so we can continue to stay afloat and serve those we’ve already promised to help this year. Every bit counts. If you find it in your heart to do so, you can donate:
Via check – Make out and mail to 4 Paws for Ability, 253 Dayton Avenue, Xenia, OH 45385
Via credit card – go to https://4pawsforability.org/donate-now
Thank you for your consideration!
Your friends at 4 Paws for Ability