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 ( Please include Amelia’s full name on the donation as instruction in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the 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,

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 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 ( Include Luca’s name on the donation as instructed in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the 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 , 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 (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
Thank you for your consideration!
Your friends at 4 Paws for Ability

Blake and Brandon Beard

By | Make a Dream Come True

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our family.   Blake and Brandon are 12 year old fraternal twins with Autism.    They may share a birthday, but that is where the similarities end.    Autism is a spectrum disorder and we have both ends of the spectrum in our home.  

Brandon is on the severe end of the Autism spectrum, and also suffers from ADHD, PTSD, PICA,  cognitive delay, and is non verbal.   He does have a few signs and uses an app on his Ipad for very basic communication, however the frustration due to his lack of speech causes a great deal of turmoil for Brandon and our family.   Our future service dog will be trained to recognize when Brandon is becoming frustrated and apply deep pressure that he seeks currently in non productive ways, such as head banging, stimming, and self-injurious behaviors that resulted historically in multiple ER visits, hospitalizations, and stitches for him and our family.   We often refer to Brandon as our “Ninja”, as he has a special set of skills for performing Houdini like maneuvers to escape car seats and any item used to contain him.   He is also drawn to water, however, is not a strong swimmer with his limited swimming skills.   You have likely seen in the news numerous cases of children with Autism wandering off and often drowning.   Our future service dog will be trained in tracking in the event Brandon is able to escape his surroundings.  

Blake is on the high functioning end of the spectrum, and struggles with social interactions and emotion regulation.   Through the use of an Autism trained service dog, we look forward to de-escalating frustrating situations for Blake in which he struggles to control his emotions.  Anxiety makes Blake often a very anxious kid, and this dog will provide a vehicle for him to calm himself not only with everyday tasks, but disruptions to his daily routine such as doctor's appointments.  

It costs 4 Paws between $40,000-60,000 to raise and properly train a service dog.  Our family is raising $17,000 of the total cost.  If you are able to make a donation on behalf of our family, you can do any of the following.

Donations can be mailed 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 Blake and Brandon Beard” 

If you wish to make a donation online the website, is .  Include Blake and Brandon Beard in the description box on the second page of the check out page or you can donate on our Mightycause page at  You may also call to make a credit card donation over the phone at (937) 374-0385 – Monday thru Friday 9AM to 4PM EST. 

Thank you for your support!


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Jacob and Maggie Hall

By | Make a Dream Come True
Hi, my name is Jacob Hall and I’m ten years old.  I was diagnosed with autism when I was two years old, and have been receiving a combination of ABA, speech and occupational therapy ever since.  I like attending any and all University of Kentucky sporting events, roller skating, and music.  I also enjoy my friends at Arts n’ Autism, playing baseball with The Miracle League, and dancing with A Chance to Dance and Let’s All Dance.  This spring I will be participating in the Special Olympics, and I can’t wait!

In addition to my autism diagnosis, I have also been diagnosed with communication disorder, intellectual disability, anxiety and ADHD.  My disabilities can make every day tasks daunting.  I see the world differently than most people, and sometimes too much stimuli can be overwhelming for me.  I try my best to control my emotions by stimming, but often I have meltdowns because I have a hard time processing things. I am also easily distracted and have a difficult time focusing, and this causes me to wander.

Did I mention that my eight year old sister, Maggie, also has autism? Like me, Maggie struggles with daily tasks due to her disability.  Public places can be very scary for Maggie because she has difficulty with sensory processing.  If she isn’t having a meltdown because of the loud noises, my parents are holding her close by so she doesn’t wander off.   My sister Maggie is my best friend, and we do everything together.

My mom and dad are raising money for a service dog so my sister and I will have our “fur-ever” friend.  Our dog will be trained to help us calm down with a melt down is imminent, to interrupt repetitive behaviors that we might not even be aware we are doing, tethering and tracking.

This service dog will be a life changing tool for me to have. It costs 4 Paws for Ability between $40,000-60,000 to raise and place a task-trained service dog.  My family is raising $17,000 to assist with the cost of my service dog. Please help me gain more independence and set me up for success by donating to my service dog fund. Every little penny counts!

Donations can be made at  or If you make a donation on the 4 Paws website, please make sure that you include my name (Jacob Hall) in the description field.  Donations can also be made via check and mailed to

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Jacob and Maggie Hall
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, Ohio 45385.

In the memo line make sure you put “In honor of Jacob and Maggie Hall.”

Thank you so much!

Lucas Sumpter

By | Make a Dream Come True
We are trying to raise money for a service dog for our sweet boy, Lucas!

At the age of 2, Lucas, was diagnosed with Autism and Speech Apraxia. More recently, he received a diagnosis for anxiety, depression, and a sleep disorder. It has had a profound effect on our family’s day to day life. Because of this, we have chosen to pursue a service pup to help make life a more manageable for all of us.

As a baby, Lucas was quiet and content to just lay there. As a first-time mom, I didn’t think anything beyond him being an “easy” baby. The one consistent issue was the be choked whenever he would try to eat or drink. After being hospitalized with pneumonia at 1.5, a swallow study was recommended. The various studies resulted in intensive speech/occupational therapy Despite the intensive therapy schedule, we saw little to no progress on his development mile stones.

When therapy yielded no real results, our pediatrician referred us to a neurologist. A two-hour evaluation finally gave us some clarity on what we were facing, Autism and Speech Apraxia. Our amazing therapists had prepared us for this possibility. We were lucky to have so many people helping us find various services and support. With a diagnosis in hand, we dug our heels in and hit therapy head on. It was slow going but Lucas started gaining words! While he was making progress, it was still incredibly difficult for Lucas to communicate and his frustration grew leading to explosive episodes that could last for hours.

Lucas is now 5 years old and is in his last year of preschool. He absolutely loves school. His teachers adore having him in class and say he is a model student. While this makes my heart soar, it’s also absolutely crushing to hear. Lucas could be the poster child for Delayed Effect. He has become so good at hiding his frustrations and stressors, that his teachers sometimes forget he actually has Autism. Unfortunately, as soon as he leaves school his emotions overwhelm him. It’s like dropping a Mentos into a freshly opened soda, the car door shuts and the screaming starts. Once he knows he is in his comfort zone, every single trigger from the day comes spewing out. This is one of many things we hope to ease.

Lucas is also an eloper. He will wander at any time given the chance. Living in a river town, it’s always in the back of my mind that he could wind up being the next news story of a child drowning after wandering from home. We have turned our house into a veritable fortress, but the worry is always there. When struggling with his emotions Lucas tends to bolt away from caregivers, headless of danger. This has led to some very scary incidents in parking lots and roads. His meltdowns are difficult to predict and being able to make it through a quick trip to the grocery store with him would be life changing.

Most recently, Lucas was diagnosed with a sleep disorder, which he is now on medication for. Of all the things we’ve dealt with so far, this was the most sensitive for me. We never wanted him to be permanently on medications, and while it has been helping, it’s still a tough one for me. He operates on two to three hours of sleep a day, and it makes him almost impossible to manage. He wakes up in the early morning hours and wanders the house. Even securing the house as thoroughly as possible, there is still always a potential that something serious could happen, so I am usually up with him. It is our hope that a service dog can act as another safety net.

We are so excited to get this process going! I can’t describe how grateful we are that 4Paws is here and willing to help our family.
If you can help Lucas, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page ( Please include Lucas’ full name on the donation as instruction in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the donation.  Donations can also be made by mailing a check with Lucas’ full name on the memo line to:
4 Paws For Ability
In Honor of Lucas Sumpter
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385

Thank you and have a wonderful day!