Valor Keane is described as “love, laughter, kindness and joy wrapped up in one handsome little two-and-a-half-year-old package” by his parents. He is sweet and always smiling.
But sometimes it’s hard for Valor to share these gifts with the world around him. Valor has autism spectrum disorder with language impairment. He is currently non-verbal and has a sensory processing disorder as well. This means that he has gigantic hurdles to overcome in order to comfortably function in a world that is oftentimes not quite built for someone whose brain processes things the way his does. The frustrations that come with living with his disabilities cause Valor to experience meltdowns, engage in stimming, display repetitive and sometimes self-injurious behaviors, elope (run away) in public and unsafe environments, and isolate from others.
This brave little boy works so hard every single day and is making amazing progress through various therapies, but there are still many environments that are extremely overwhelming and inaccessible for him. To help open up the world for Valor as much as possible, his parents are in the process of getting him a service dog. The tasks that his autism service dog will be trained to perform will be life-changing and could be lifesaving for Valor.
Here are a few of the tasks Valor’s dog will be specifically trained to do:
Tethering – providing an anchor for Valor in public settings so that he doesn’t wander or elope (run away) into an unsafe situation.
Tracking – should the unthinkable happen and Valor manages to get away from his parents, his service dog will be trained to track Valor using his scent and help reunite him with his family safely.
Behavior Disruption – his dog will be trained to recognize and interrupt stimming, repetitive and self-injurious behaviors or will alert his parents to Valor’s behaviors so that his family can properly intervene.
Calming and Preventing Meltdowns through Deep Pressure Therapy – when Valor is overwhelmed, he currently has to wear a weighted compression vest to give his body the input needed to calm down. His dog will be trained to provide this deep pressure for Valor in these situations, as well as serve as a welcomed distraction from Valor’s frustrations through cuddles and licks.
Assistance with Transitions – Valor relies heavily on predictability and routine. The dog will act as a source of consistency and comfort for Valor when daily transitions in his preferred routines are interrupted.
Social Bridge and Communication – through partnering with a dog, Valor will have a best friend who offers unconditional love with no expectations. This relationship will help Valor learn and practice social skills that currently cause him distress and anxiety. The dog will be Valor’s “safe space” to work on engaging with others in meaningful ways.
Valor’s autism service dog is coming from 4 Paws for Ability. It costs 4 Paws an average of $50,000 to raise and properly train a service dog to perform these life-changing tasks. The Keane family is raising $17,000 of the total cost. To help Valor get his lifesaving service dog, credit card gifts can be made by going to: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Valors-Service-Dog or www.4pawsforability.org/donate-now. On the 4 Paws website, please be sure to include Valor Keane in the description box on the second check-out page. Credit card donations can also be made over the phone at 4 Paws by calling 937-374-0385 Monday through Friday 9 AM to 4 PM EST.
To donate by check, please make checks out to 4 Paws for Ability and write on the check memo line – Valor Keane and mail to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Valor Keane
207 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.
Thank you for your consideration.