05 Jul Smart Pup for Lauren (17423)
My sensory system isn’t built like other peoples. All of my senses are in overdrive and I process everything at once. There is no quiet or loud in a room of people, everything is always the same volume, so to combat this I wear noise cancelling headphones every day. This is also known as sensory processing disorder (SPD).Because of my ASD I find it difficult to understand people’s emotions and intentions. I feel trapped and lost in crowds because I can’t handle the noise and/or people touching me. My body simply rejects it causing me to essentially shut down and lose control of my emotions. It sounds like a movie, but it’s what I go through every day. Going to the cinemas or the showgrounds is something I should enjoy but I don’t. My ASD and SPD causes me a wide range of issues and anxieties that are hard to overcome. The issues I face daily, consume me on a regular basis and make it extremely difficult to just do every day normal things like doing my grocery shopping, going to school and even participating in social activities. It also makes it nearly impossible for me to get a job or go out by myself.
How a service dog will help me. My care team, family, friends and I have come to the decision that being the recipient of an organisation-trained assistance dog would be highly beneficial as part of my ongoing care plan. These service dogs are professionally trained to be focused on their handler, to pick up subtle cues and changes as well as maintaining focus around distractions.
This requires up to 2 years of intense training to do the following as my service dog:
– Alerting and responding to an oncoming meltdown or panic attack
– Interrupting destructive behaviours such as self-injury, scratching or harmful compulsions
– Grounding me by providing a forward momentum pull via a handle and keeping me safe in episodes of dissociation (a state of confusion, not being in touch with reality or ones self)
– Retrieval of items to minimise the risk of compulsions (eg, dropping the item and picking it up over and over again)
– Wake me and comfort after nightmares/night terrors
– Provide a physical barrier between me and other people in front or behind to avoid them getting too close. (eg, waiting in line, crowds, sitting in a busy area)
– Providing a sense of calming and safety when I go out into public
As you can see, this dog will have a pretty big job and will help me tremendously with every aspect of my life.
Why I need the funds – The process for acquiring an assistance dog is long. In total the training takes two years, and this only begins once the minimum payment has been made. I need to raise $20,000 to fund the costs associated with the puppy being raised and trained. I have been saving over the past 3+ years in anticipation of getting a service dog and am already part of the way towards my goal, but still have a long way to go. I am therefore looking to others that might be able to help me in my journey to be able to secure an assistance dog.
Pictured above is Finn, a school therapy dog I used to take to my classes, he was the reason I would go to my classes and even show up to school on my worst days. I would always look forward to seeing him.
This photo was taken after I left a class because of peer bullying. I was in tears, highly distressed. My teacher called him up onto the couch with me and he lied across my lap. Finn put a smile on my face immediately, and the pressure of his body over mine calmed my nervous system, I took him to my next class and was able to get through that day without going home.
How you can help me. – Any donation at all is highly appreciated and will get me closer to being able to get an assistance dog that will give me the independence, confidence and freedom that I desperately crave. Please feel free to share this to your friends and family. I’m still young, and want to have experiences and memories, but my struggles get in the way of a lot of it. A service dog is an unconditional partner. No other treatment compares to what they will do for me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this <3