4 Paws for Ability Goes Viral

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This story is about the amazing work that 4 Paws for Ability does – that’s where I got my service dog London!!! 

“I’m not sure why, but people still ask us why we place service dogs with children sometimes. Let me help you understand, from a momma who knows first hand:

See this moment? 

I’ve never experienced a moment like this.

I thought about not sharing it for embarrassment of my ugly cry face, but i decided it’s too important not to share.ūüėÖ

This picture was taken near the end of the day after my autistic five year old was finally able to sit down with his new Service Dog Tornado. He flew across the entire ocean, stopped in multiple states, and uprooted his entire routine to travel the globe for this. He was so overwhelmed through the day that he had to leave to take a break for a couple hours before he could come back. This boy is the strongest child I have ever met; he has faced countless rude and ignorant adults and children who do not understand him, who have hurt him, and who have not valued him because he is different. This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can’t hug, wash, dress, snuggle and touch freely lay on his new Service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful unspoken attachment. This is the face of a mom who has seen her son experience countless failed social interactions on the playground in an attempt to have a friend. Any friend. Any kind of connection. She has sat with her son while he has cried at night for months because he has no consistent connections outside of the family no matter how hard he tries and no matter what he works hard on in his Autism therapies. It doesn’t transfer to the natural occurring world for him. And now she is sitting behind her son silently watching this moment, with the air sucked from her lungs, and no words to say. 

Holding her mouth and silently crying because she doesn’t want to distract him from the moment and break him away from a pure, honest, and truly fulfilling moment for her son-of his own free will. This is truly magic. Words cannot explain it. 

I have cried so many times for this boy, but this is the very first time I have cried for a reason like this. 

It’s new, it’s painful, it’s wonderful, and it’s grateful. I will always stand behind this boy (probably still crying ūüėā) but I am grateful that he will have Tornado to stand beside him. The 4 Paws magic is real. The wait is long, but this moment right here makes it worth every moment of waiting. It’s worth every fight for services for my son, every diagnosis, every new provider, every dollar spent, every paper filled out, every school meeting, every shed tear, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. Some how because of this- because of Tornado- I know everything will be okay.” ūüźĺ

Apple Watch Raffle!!!

I am giving away an Apple Watch! (valued at $349) watch38
Drawing to be held Friday Feb 26 at the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania (EFEPA) Mardi Gras Gala.* Proceeds Benefit EFEPA Camp Achieve Scholarship!
Raffle Ticket Details:
1 Entry for $10**
3 Entries for $25**
Buy Raffle Tickets

online

Apple¬ģ Watch Sport 38mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band

  • Includes:¬†Cleaning Cloth, Wall Charger, Battery
  • Wired Connectivity:¬†USB

*unless minimum reserve of tickets have not been sold, in which case the drawing will be automatically postponed until the minimum has been met
** A 2.75% processing fee is included in the price in our store Рthank you for helping with this cost!

Additional Ways to Support Mardi Gras Gala

We are so glad that you’re excited to help support the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania Mardi¬†Gras Gala!

  • You can support the EFEPA¬†by entering our Apple Watch Raffle or¬†purchasing an item from our store or making a donation.
  • You can provide a silent auction item, suggested retail value >$300, subject to foundation approval. Contact us!
  • You can share this with a friend, colleague, or loved one that is impacted by epilepsy or wants to support the cause. Contact us for more details!
  • If you are able to volunteer your time,¬†we need volunteers 10am-3pm on Feb 26 to decorate for the gala. Contact Us to RSVP
  • If your company supports matching gifts, let us know and we will submit a donor form to EFEPA on your behalf. Please be mindful of the minimum match requirements specific to your company (e.g. >$24).

mardigraspic

Day 12 Graduation and Bringing London Home

Well we did it! London is a Certified Service Dog!!! Mommy and London took their Public Access Test on Friday and PASSED! That didn’t really surprise us because London knew exactly what she was doing. We never had any problems.
After the test we had graduation. I got to meet all of the amazing volunteers, trainers, and staff from 4 Paws. They showed my London so much love. Guess who else I got to meet? I got to meet London’s amazing foster family!!! I could see how much they loved London and now I know why London loves little girls so much. She was best friends with the girls in that family.
After graduation we drove to West Virginia and slept in a different hotel. In the morning we took London to a hunting and fishing store that my daddy loves. Then we took a loooooong drive home. On the way home we stopped at my church so London would be ready for Sunday school. We finally made it home and I was soooo excited to see my brother and sister and play with them. I am so happy to be home with my London and my family.

Remember to check out pictures from my training experience!

I really want to thank the Hawke Falzarano Memorial Fund. The Falzarano family honored their son by sponsoring London’s litter to become medical assistance service dogs for many of the families in our class. I am so thankful for how they shared their love for their son.

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Day 11 – Training with London

Today was the LAST DAY OF TRAINING!!!  We learned a few new things my doggie can do Рshe can put her paw on me to help redirect me and she knows how to back up. This is useful if she needs to get out of the way without turning around.  I also got to learn how to teach London to give me KISSES!!! This is one of my favorites! I giggle every time she kisses me.  I love that the trainers are letting me teach her this.

We did our last round of tracking practice today. ¬†London has proven that she knows me and can find me. ¬†The past few days I have been “taking a walk” with a different person that London doesn’t know. ¬†I still can’t believe how fast she is.

Check out the video of today’s tracking session

This afternoon I took a loooooong nap while the head trainer talked about everything we need to know from driving or flying, to introducing London to my home, the homes of friends and family, my school, and my church, to when London is ready to retire. ¬†I can’t even think¬†that far into the future!

Tonight we got to celebrate a Frozen birthday for the 6 year old sister of one of my classmates! We have become good friends the past 2 weeks.

Remember to check out today’s pictures!

Tomorrow¬†we have our¬†Public Access¬†test in the morning, then my Mommy and Daddy complete all of the paperwork needed to make London part of my family! ¬†Class Graduation is in the afternoon! Then I GET TO TAKE LONDON HOME!!!!! I can’t wait to see my brother and sister and show them my London!

Day 10 – Training with London

I can’t believe it! Today we learned even MORE tricks that my London can do! She can roll over and I have about 5 silly ways to get London to lay on her side, but you’ll need to ask me to show you how. ¬†My Mommy and Daddy also worked with London for “off-leash” training. ¬†Off-leash¬†is practicing obedience when she is around the house. She is trained and expected to have good manners and obedience whether or not she is wearing her working harness or leash.

Then I went for “a walk” at a new park. This park had big open fields and just a few buildings. ¬†My Daddy didn’t see where I went, so he had to “read” London when she was tracking to find her girl. ¬†London once again found me super fast sitting¬†behind a shed. ¬†I took my walk with my friend’s mom, so London was only tracking my scent again today!

Then I went to lunch with London again.  She slept the whole time under my table.  She uses soooo much energy when she is tracking me that she just wants to sleep afterwards.  After lunch we went to the mall.  There, I went for a walk in JC Penny and out in the main mall area.  London had to figure out which store I went into! She is so awesome and finding me!!!  After the mall, London and I hung out on my bed before I went to dinner with my Mommy and Daddy.

Remember to check out today’s pictures!

Guess what… I only have 1 more day of training with London! Then on Friday we have our Public Access test in the morning and Graduation in the afternoon! Then I GET TO TAKE LONDON HOME!!!!! I can’t wait to see my brother and sister and show them my London!

Day 9 – Training with London

I woke up right on time today and was eager to get to class. Today my Mommy and Daddy learned a couple of new commands for London. They learned “Over” – which I really liked. ¬†This is a command for London to lay on top of ME! They also learned how to tell London to “Stand” from the “Sit” or “Down” position. ¬†For Stand, London does just that. ¬†She stands up but does not move. ¬†This is good for when I need to use London for balance.

Mommy and Daddy¬†also practiced some commands and tasks she already has shown us. ¬†One of the trainers fussed and cried to make London nuzzle her. ¬†This is when London would bump me with her nose to try to change my mood, stop crying, or stop really any bad behavior. ¬†We also played “the seizure game” in class today. London barked at my Daddy when he pretended to have a seizure. ¬†Last night Daddy tricked London and pretended to have a seizure¬†when she was on the other side of the room and wasn’t expecting it. ¬†She jumped up, ran to him and barked. ¬†She is so amazing! Have I told you that lately?

Today we were also back at the park for search and rescue tracking. ¬†This time Daddy took me for a walk, but neither Mommy or London knew which way I went or what path I took. ¬†This made the tracking very realistic for Mommy. ¬†Her job is to “read” London and to keep London from going too fast. ¬†If it was up to London she would sprint the entire time. ¬†The problem with that is that she could overshoot a turn that I made and lose my scent. ¬†London found me super fast and we had a big party for her for doing her job so well.

This afternoon all of the parents asked the trainer questions about their dogs (luckily I got to watch movies). Then Mommy and Daddy worked with London on getting her to listen when they used either a¬†verbal or¬†hand signal command. ¬†That’s right, my puppy knows sign language for sit, down, stand, heal, free, tricks, and more. ¬†Daddy also practiced dropping London’s leash and walking away. ¬†This shows that she know to hold her last command even when someone is not watching right over her.

All of the practice we are doing is¬†in preparation for Friday’s Public Access Test, where Mommy and Daddy have to show the trainers that they can handle London in public. ¬†The Federal ADA Law basically states that services dogs are granted full access to all public locations. However, it is the handler’s responsibility to maintain control of the dog at all times.

The doggies are getting really tired. ¬†They are not used to working as¬†many hours as what we are doing right now. ¬†Going home with me should feel like a vacation for London (well, at least the car ride will). ¬†I think tonight London fell asleep in my bed before I did! You can see today’s pictures¬†on my Facebook¬†page!

Day 8 – Training with London

London and I slept in this morning. It’s a lot of hard working learning about each other! Once Mommy woke us up we started our morning at the 4 Paws for Ability facility. I watched some Dora and Diego with my new friends while Mommy and Daddy worked with London. Today they worked on healing while pushing a shopping cart. They also worked more on obedience ¬†with distractions. The trainers at 4 Paws are so wonderful. They take time to answer all of Mommy and Daddy’s questions and have great ideas for how to continue with London’s Training.

After they finished with obedience we headed out to the park for more tracking. I LOVE when London comes to find me. As soon as I can see her I start yelling “London, my London”! Today my friend’s Mommy hid with me. This may not seem like too big of a deal, but it means¬†that I was the only recognizable scent for London to track. She found my scent so quickly and confidently again. It is truly amazing to see her find me. Mommy and Daddy are working hard to be able to read all of London’s body language to be able to become their own little search and rescue team if I ever need it.

We ate lunch at Chick-fil-a with London sleeping under the table and then set off for an afternoon at the mall. We started with indoor tracking. I “got lost” in Sears 3 times and London was able to find me every time! Have I told you how amazing she is yet?

Here is a video of our train ride!

The last time I “got lost” I ended up in the Clearance shoe section, and found new Doc McStuffin’s shoes and pink shoes for my sister super cheap! Next we walked around the mall with one of the trainers to continue with more obedience training. London is doing so well! She has such a sweet personality and is so full of love for me. Our trainer gave us a few pointers and lots of praise for how well London was doing, then sent us off to practice on our own. Guess what we got to do… London and I took a train ride around the mall! It was so much fun!

Back at the hotel we ate dinner and then got to face time with my brother and sister! I love to show off all of London’s tricks to them. I can’t wait to get home to introduce them to London! Remember to look for¬†today’s pictures.