It is difficult to put into words what the past 11 years have been like for our family. When Johnny was born, we began walking a road we never expected.
We sought numerous professionals to figure out what it was Johnny was struggling with, but there were few and varying answers. Grasping for anything that might help our son, we tried occupational therapy, social skills, counseling, in-home therapies, special programs, ABA, diet changes, medication, and much more over the years, without much success.
Johnny is now 11 years old, and one of our five children. We continue to wade through medication issues, special schooling situations, various appointments, and doing what we can to help Johnny to consider and relate to others, and to help others – including his own siblings – relate to him.
Johnny still has a difficult time transitioning from activity to activity. While some days we see marked improvement and have great hope that we are all making progress, other days are stress-filled as we help Johnny to manage his anxiety and other emotions in stressful or highly-stimulating situations.
Family outings can be difficult and stressful for all of us, sometimes requiring us to limit activities, leave early, or separate our family. Johnny struggles to understand how his reactions and behaviors affect others, especially his siblings. This makes it difficult for him to make friends and relate to his own siblings, which has in turn affected his self-esteem. When we learned how much a service dog could help Johnny, and our family as a whole, we became so hopeful.
A service dog can cuddle Johnny at times of stress or transition and can even sit on him to apply deep pressure, both of which are shown to help kids like Johnny. Johnny seems to find peace and calm around animals; this dog will be a friend he really needs right now. We are also hopeful that we will be able to be together more often as a family, rather than splitting up to avoid the typical challenges of transitioning. We are excited to see how a service dog will help Johnny by reducing his overall anxiety so that he can strengthen family relationships and friendships.
As challenging as this journey has been, we all continue to learn and grow (not just Johnny). We have seen God provide and care for our family in ways we could not have dreamed. We are beyond grateful to everyone who has helped, supported, and encouraged us along the way. Thank you for helping to make this dream a reality for Johnny and for our family!
You can also mail a check or money order to:
W.A.G.S. 4 Kids
112 East Center Street
Berea, OH 44017
Please make a memo that your donation is for Johnny