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A Thankful Thanksgiving

Andrew & Flynn

· Mission Accomplished,TBI

Andrew was 17-years-old when he was still hospitalized after sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury following a tragic accident. Andrew had always been an animal lover, when mom, Erin, initially contacted W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to see what a service dog could do to help aid in his recovery and long term life challenges. (See: Meet Andrew)

It has been just over a year since Andrew's service dog, Flynn, a yellow Labrador retriever, has entered their household and their hearts and according to Erin, "Flynn has been an incredible asset to improving Andrew's quality of life in so many aspects, physically, mentally and emotionally. He has given him some independence, and a sense of safety and security just knowing Flynn is always by his side. Andrew does all of Flynn's care, feeding, brushing, walking and even pooper scoping, has taught him responsibility and keeps him active. One of Andrew's deficits is aphasia, having Flynn has helped his speech by learning and using verbal commands."

Andrew continues to do a lot of rehab and therapies.

"When we go to the therapy centers," Erin brags, "parents approach me all the time and tell me they have often thought of a service dog for their child and want more information and ask how the dog has helped my son. It's happened so many times that I carry a W.A.G.S. 4 Kids pamphlet in my purse to hand out every time I'm approached."

So what was it like adjusting to life with Flynn? "I felt going into {Grafton Correctional Institution} to see the classes and interact with the dog before we brought him home was extremely helpful. I read the book, but reading it and doing it are different. Having the book was also very handy as a reference after we brought the dog home. I still have questions or concerns at times and every time something has come up any of the W.A.G.S. staff has been a phone call away."

In terms of what Erin, Andrew and Flynn are grateful for this Thanksgiving that goes without saying. "I have only one word to add, incredible! Wendy and Sera we're amazing at helping with the fundraising. So glad we had the opportunity to work with Lisa and Josh, they really helped and taught Andrew and I a lot."

Andrew and Flynn's story is just one of many testimonials that we have shared and will continue to share with you throughout this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year. We like to say we're in the "joy" business. Thank you for being part of the joy of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids and forever changing the lives of Andrew and his best friend for life, Flynn.

Come back next week for another installment of "A Thankful Thanksgiving"

Happy Holidays! Your W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Family.

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