Ryan and his mom make our hearts melt. Almost always when we introduce a child to you, our community, it is a story from heart and perspective of the parent. Ryan is the first child ever in the history of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids to write his own story. When we introduced you to Ryan back in April of this year, every word was crafted by him. His words, his heart, his wish, his perspective. This is even more impactful should you ever be blessed to meet Ryan.
A shy 12-year-old young man, he is not one to speak up. Even though he loved academics, he wasn't able to go to school. He had trouble making friends.
"Some things are easy for me, like technology, but other things are really hard. I have Autism and an Anxiety Disorder ... I get frustrated a lot. I don't really have a lot of friends and sometimes I feel lonely but I just don't know what to say to new people. I also have lots of trouble sleeping at night."
"I am getting older and want to do more things without my parents but I know that I still need help. I work really hard everyday but I feel like a failure when I can't do something that seems easy for everyone else. A service dog would make it easier for me to do things independently." - Ryan
Ryan's Mom Melissa concurs, "Ryan struggles with severe anxiety that makes doing anything outside the comfort of our home difficult. He was barely going to school and doing anything as a family was increasingly difficult. Our hope was that a service dog would allow Ryan to always have his "comfort zone" with him and allow him to attend school. (Our hope was far exceeded when Haywood came home!)
It has been less than 6 months since Haywood joined their family and already challenges that once seemed insurmountable have turned into moments of joy for Ryan and his family.
Melissa continues, "Ryan is going to school this year with the assistance of Haywood. We are going places as a family (Cedar Point, canoeing, restaurants, etc). Everyone that knows Ryan, immediately sees the difference in his confidence. The change in him has been truly remarkable. Sure, he still struggles and probably always will, but with Haywood by his side we have hope for independence and the chance to be a kid."
"Our experience has been life changing. Haywood has given us hope. I happily tell people about WAGS and would recommend to anyone needing hope for their child."