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This fundraiser ended on 08/31/10

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Paws4Cody was created to raise money to get Cody an Autism Service Dog by the name of Cheers. Cody is a loving little boy who struggles everyday with the effects of autism and deserves a canine friend to help him in his day to day journey.

What is the purpose of an Autism service dog for Cody , you may ask?  Well the purpose of an Autism Service Dog is to provide friendship, companionship, unconventional, and unconditional love for Cody. Cheers would provide a source of comfort and consistency when environments change and anxiety might be high. This would help Cody and the other family members find a higher quality of life for Cody and bring a more sense of independence. Cheers would also support Cody when he encounters problems and obstacles set in front of him by Autism and help him overcome those challenges.

Perhaps you're wondering, “What tasks can be performed for our son that will make Cheers an autism service dog?” Cheers is in the beginning phases of training, But when he is fully trained, One of the main things he will help Cody with his spatial awareness issues, among other things. When Cody is in a public place he doesn't pay attention to other people. For example, and to be specific, while shopping at Publix he walks right out in front of people who are clearly walking a certain path, such as the crazy lady with the cart doing 25 MPH toward the pork chops. Cheers will help Cody with this issue. He will stop when he sees somebody walking across in front of them. And since Cody will be holding and or tethered to Cheers he will be stopped and that will remind him to watch for other people and objects that may hurt him. Cheers will help to keep him safe in many situations like this.

There is a magic that exists between children and dogs, a magic that can become a life-saving miracle for Cody. One of the many tasks Cheers can be trained to do, is the ability to track Cody if he has wandered away, an issue for our family. Children with Autism often don't respond to their names consistently, if they respond at all. Cody rarely understands the many dangers in his environment; an approaching car; a stranger with ill intentions; an aggressive dog, going through a gate which is quite easily opened. One of my greatest fears centers around Cody going missing or when out with Cody that I might look away only for a minute and turn to find him gone or darting out into the path of an oncoming car, this has happen to me when in parking lots with Cody. When a child with Autism disappears their life is in danger and an adult looking for them may begin their search in the wrong direction; while a Autism service Dog can quickly lead the adult in the correct direction or straight to the missing child!

Every family I know with a child with Autism says that their child has few, if any, friends, as is such the case for Cody. Other children don't understand their behaviors and even higher functioning children like Cody, are not able to form the social relationships needed to sustain friendships, even at the elementary school level, this is exceptionally difficult for parents, who watch as the disability interferes in their child's life, as the children most often know that the other children are making fun of them and/or leaving them behind as they form their social groups or sometimes it is worse to watch as your child does not understand that they are being made fun of. It is interesting to say the least that it has been found that the children are able to relate to their dogs in ways that they were unable to with humans. An Autism service dog can help Cody to overcome some of the issues that isolates him from forming these friendships and because of the dogs presence they are able to form friendships that help them later in life socially.

So, now we take Cody and all the difficulties he has with verbalization, communication, and social relationships and pair him with a well trained quality service dog like Cheers who will be specifically trained to meet Cody's unique needs; to create a consistency in Cody's life as Cheers can go every where that he goes, even within places of public accommodation, bringing along with him: consistency, stability, and calm reassurance that the feelings of anxiety or fear is not needed because his trusted buddy, Cheers will be by his side. As Cody bonds with Cheers an unconditional, unconventional, and a miraculous loving friendship is developed and with each day passing, grows stronger, bringing along with it, a chance that Cody will be able to transfer his new social relationship to the humans in his environment as well. Please help us help Cody become an independant, confidant and happy child.


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