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4 Paws for Stryder
Service dogs help disabled children function in the real world.
Prineville, January 2, 2013: Five-year-old Stryder Doescher has faced and overcome such obstacles as would likely destroy one without his determination and fighting spirit. Stryder’s parents have always attempted to give him as many tools to live and flourish as possible. Most recently, they have begun the process of fundraising for 4 Paws for Ability to gain the volunteer credits necessary to earn a seizure scent/alert dog for Stryder.
Stryder has a connective tissue disorder that makes him very hypermobile and often in pain and unable to walk long distances. Stryder was also diagnosed with epilepsy when he was three at the Mayo clinic in Rochester and just last month he was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, only a few hundred people worldwide are diagnosed with this.
Landua-Kleffner Syndrome (LKS) is a form of epilepsy where the child has constant silent seizures, or spikes, while they are sleeping; Stryder was having one or two seizures every second while asleep. It causes them to lose language skills and they often relapse many times in their life (often every three months), causing permanent brain damage. In Stryder’s case, he was not able to talk until he was almost four and it will cause more delays with his speech and language as he gets older; he may lose everything he has gained if the seizures are not caught in time. Because the seizures are silent, he will have to endure overnight EEG’s often to check for spiking and medications work only for short periods of time.
Adapting to his illness provides unique challenges to Stryder’s family because he has different kinds of seizures, some big and some small and the ones presented by Landau-Kleffner Syndrome are silent and “invisible”. Some of his seizures can be so subtle that even a trained observer has difficulty recognizing them. During these seizures, Stryder loses consciousness and is unable to move or speak but may only appear to be daydreaming. This means that every day activities such as climbing, going down a slide, bathing, swimming, or even eating can become dangerous as a seizure can cause him to fall, become immobilized in water, or choke on food. Stryder is unable to sleep alone for fear of having a seizure, but a seizure dog will help notify Stryder’s parents when he is having seizure so they can change his medications and prevent as much brain damage as possible while also protecting him from hurting himself.
Based in Ohio, 4 Paws for Ability trains service dogs for families and children with outstanding medical and developmental challenges. Service dogs provide support in such areas as emotional comfort, search and rescue, social experience, and boundary control. 4Paws service dogs give children with extreme challenges the freedom they crave, along with the safety they need. 4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization that is training the service dog for Stryder. This organization is one-of-a-kind in that they work with children and partner with families for fundraising. Founder Karen Shirk says, “Through this fundraising partnership, children are not on waiting lists for years.” All purchases and donations go towards the selection and extensive training of the dog and all are tax deductible. The 4Paws website at www.4pawsforability.org states, “A magic exists between children and dogs, a magic that can become a life-saving miracle.”
These dogs are not only companions, they are lifesavers and caregivers. They are not your average dog: they are rock stars. And like any rock star, they do not come cheap. It costs 4 Paws for Ability $22,000 to procure and train a seizure assistance dog. To enable them to help as many people as quickly as possible, 4 Paws allows each recipient family to fundraise the $13,000 needed to place the dog. By utilizing this unique fundraising model, each family is able to receive a service dog within one year, as opposed to the five or fifteen years they would have to wait with other nonprofit service dog organizations. Help Stryder’s dream come true by making a tax-deductible donation to 4 Paws for Ability. To learn more about Stryder, see pictures or to make a donation, visit http://www.StrydersStory.com