Sunday, April 27, 2008

A neat story

The other day Mom was looking at sitemeter and found a blog that had a link to my website on it. The most recent post on this woman's blog is about how her son turned four, and what they were going to do for his birthday party. She asked that in exchange for presents that the kids bring a small donation for my service dog. Did I mention she's never met me? Mom was quite moved--it's amazing to see how people who don't even know me are doing extraordinarily special things to help me get this dog. Thank you.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


We're over half-way!!!! This week $900 was donated bringing the grand total to $2,815!!! Maybe we can hit $3,000 by the end of the week! Thank you for such a great week!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our visit to Brigadoon today

Today we were at Brigadoon for about an hour and a half, and then I was finished! I spent time with only three dogs this week, so I was able to spend more time with each one. Denise brought out Bond first this time, then Gypsy, and finally Tate.

You can see in the pictures that Bond was excited to see me :), and was very focused on the blanket behind me. I held his leash and "walked" him around the office area for a little bit. We hung out together, although I was more interested in watching my reflection in the glass.

Once again, it seemed that Gypsy seemed to be the most interested in me. She kept following me around!!! She and I played with a tennis ball for a while--she would bring it to me and put it in my hand, and my mom would stand behind me and make me throw the ball to her. Gypsy also put her leash in her mouth and handed it to me.

Finally Denise brought Tate out. I was pretty wiped out by this time and didn't really want anything to do with anyone. I hung out with Tate for a while, but I was not very cooperative!

So, where does that leave us? Well, like I mentioned in my last post about visiting Brigadoon, Denise is looking to see if there is an "ah ha" moment between me and a dog. Denise video taped me interacting with Gypsy for a bit today. She's looking to see which dog is the most interested in me. So, we're going to keep going up and visiting to see if a bond form between me and one of the dogs. This is a little more complicated than it seems. You see, it takes me a while to get used to a new environment--especially one that I'm not around very often. So this is still kind of tough because I'm not used to the Brigadoon facilities. When we get there all I want to do is check out the environment because it's something "new". It's hard for me because not only do I have to navigate a new environment, but I also have to navigate being around dogs (which is something I'm not used to--we don't have any pets at home). As it stands now, Mom is going to take me back up there within the next couple of weeks, and pretty soon Denise will do a home visit with one of the dogs so that I'm in an environment that I'm used to. So that's where we're at. :) See below for some pictures of our visit today. Have a good weekend!

p.s. My mom got a new camera battery today, so she can take pictures of my next tornado of destruction! :)

Here is Bond getting the blanket that's behind me.

This is me giving Gypsy a little love squeeze.

Gypsy is coming over to see what I'm doing.

I'm giving Gypsy some treats.

Tate is checking me out.

Tate is really checking me out! :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

*****$2,000 MARK*****

We hit the $2,000 mark today! We're almost half-way there! Thank you everyone!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back to Brigadoon

Mom and I are going back up to Brigadoon on Saturday, so hopefully we can post some more pictures and have another update. Mom REALLY has to get her camera working because tonight....I.....PAINTED MY TOENAILS, FINGERNAILS AND THE BATHROOM FLOOR (of a friend's house) with pretty red nail polish. That will teach Mom to turn on American Idol when I want to watch Veggie Tales!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Week 5

Well, we've made it through week 5--time is going by fast! This week $200 was donated which give us a new total of $1,915. We didn't make it to $2,000, but we're close--maybe next week! A bunch of people have added my blog to theirs, and I want to say THANK YOU to all those people--I am getting hits from people who are coming from your blog. We're almost to 1,000 hits! Keep coming back and checking out the updates--you never know, I may have a new story of destruction for you (although my mom hasn't bought flour to replace what I dumped earlier this week, so I'll have to go for something different). Oh--I'm also going up to Brigadoon on Saturday to visit with the doggies again, so I'll let you know how that goes. Keep checking back!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What do you get when.....

you add 10 pounds of flour, 6 pounds of epsom salt, and one sleeping mother? A lot of fun for me and a HUGE mess for mom to clean. Yes, this morning my mother woke up to 10 pounds of flour covering every square inch of carpet and flooring in the living room, laundry room, and kitchen, as well as inside the heater vents, all over the couches and on top of the table and counters. But that's not all, I didn't want the bathroom to feel left out so I made a paste of epsom salt and water and covered the entire bathroom (including the floor) with the mix. Now luckily for me, the camera is out of batteries, so the only thing my mom has to remember this is her deteriorating memory!!!! So far she's ONLY spent 70 minutes cleaning up after my early morning playtime--so that's not too bad. Seeing as I'm still alive to write to you, I thought I'd do a little post on transitions and routine.

As some of you may not know, another defining trait of autism is the inability to adapt easily to change. Yes, there are many of us who don't like change, but I REALLY don't like change. And to show my disdain for someone daring to change my routine, I act out in one of two ways--trouble or trouble. This week happens to be spring break, so I'm out of school for the week. Fortunately for mom, we were doing all kinds of doctor visits and things over first two days, so I didn't have an opportunity to get into trouble--but today was MY day. So off to find flour and epsom salt for a truly unique sensory experience.

So how does that tie into a service dog? Well, my mom is hoping that a service dog would be sort of an "anchor" during times of change and transition. That the dog would be a consistent factor that helps keep me from acting out because of change. There are many stories of my mess making adventures (permanent markers, Costco size pancake mix, peanut butter, flour, sugar and shaving cream are a few of my favorites), but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Since I don't have a picture of today's mess, I thought I'd post one that happened in October of 2006. This one I entitle: SHAVING CREAM. This is what happens when mom takes her eyes off of me for 5 (yes 5) minutes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Week 4 Donations

Wow everyone, another great week! Thank you all for the number of blog hits and donations this week. So drum roll please.....this week you donated $670 bringing the total to $1,715! I'm hoping to hit the $2,000 mark by the end of next week. Thanks again!

Our visit to Brigadoon

Welcome to Brigadoon Assistance Dogs! I've realized that I haven't told you all about the PROCESS of getting a service dog--I don't know how much you know about what it takes to get a service dog, but I sure didn't know a whole lot. the interest of information and education, I'm going to share what I learn with you. :)

It all started about 5 years ago. My mom was interested in getting me a service dog, but at that time there weren't any organizations that would even allow you on their waiting list until you were 5 years-old (I was 2). So she tabled the idea. Fast forward a few years and she began toying with the idea again. So, off to the internet she went, found some websites, and talked to a couple of people who currently have a service dog for their child with autism. That led her to Brigadoon Assistance Dogs. Finding a service dog program an hour away from us is nothing short of a small miracle (Mom was sure we were going to have to travel out of state).

Once she was put in touch with Brigadoon, she drove up with Grum (my grandma--her funny name is another story) to tour the facility and meet the owner. I didn't go on that visit because apparently I'm a little distracting and she had a bunch of questions to ask. She and Denise (the owner of Brigadoon) talked about what my needs are and what a service dog could/would do for me. Denise told my mom that it could take up to two years before a dog could come home permanently with me. Getting a dog isn't necessarily on a "first come first served" basis--its all about the right personality and bond between boy and dog. In other words if she had 5 "available" dogs, but none of them "clicked" with me, then she would be looking around for a dog that might fit my personality and needs. She sent Mom home with an application book--I mean packet--to fill out complete with reference letters and a doctors note. Once Mom turned that back in they set up a time for me to come up and meet Denise and her dogs. I was then put on the "waiting list".

In January my mom, Grum, Amber, and I drove up to Brigadoon to "meet" Denise and some of her available dogs. (Blind date anyone?) Here's how it worked--Denise brought in different dogs one at a time to see what my reaction would be toward them, and their reaction toward me. Now keep in mind my experience with dogs is our ex-dog Tucker (a wiener dog who didn't like kids), Grum and Pa's yappie dogs (sorry Grum), and Charlie and Rugby (friend's dogs). So this first meeting I wasn't sure what to think. Mom said it was interesting to see the interaction between me and the different dogs. Some I wanted nothing to do with (especially if they tried to put their wet nose on my palm), while there were two who they thought I was interested in. After meeting about 8 dogs I was EXHAUSTED! Denise took notes on the reactions/interactions between me and the different dogs, and put the two that I seemed to not mind so much in the back of her head to watch for over until our next visit.

Which brings us to TODAY! Mom, Auntie Noel and I went up for a visit and some pictures. When we got to Brigadoon this afternoon Denise told us that one of the service dogs I seemed to like was no longer in the program--he just wasn't "service dog" material. She wanted me to meet Nugget, a two year-old golden retriever and see a couple of the collies again. So, off to doggie dating we went. The pictures below show all but one of the dogs I met today. I'll give you more details under the pictures.
This is me walking into Brigadoon

This is Nugget. She is a beautiful golden retriever. She LOVES balls and other toys, but once she settled down, I sat down next to her, petted her, and played with her feet. She was sooo soft and sweet and it didn't matter what I did to her (like try to touch her eyeballs).

Next came Gypsy--a one year-old smooth-haired collie. I'm giving her a treat in the picture. Gypsy was a little on the hyper side, but she's still a puppy so that will calm down over the next year. What was interesting about Gypsy was she followed me around the room, and kept her eyes on me most of the time. She didn't pay any attention to my mom and was only interested in me. On the other side, I didn't show enthusiastic attention to her (they think it's because she wasn't as mellow as Nugget)--I was just more interested in the cat perch.....
This is Gypsy staying with me even when I wasn't paying attention to her (no one told her to go over by me). After Gypsy came Lily who wasn't out long enough to get any pictures of. She wasn't sure what she thought about me, and was a little nervous--so she's not going to work.

After Lily came Tate. He was a little on the hyper side too.

Then there was Bond, by this time I was starting to melt down and had no interest in anymore of this dog-meeting business!

Next was Phoenix--a german shepherd. Phoenix is HUGE and she isn't even full grown yet. As you can see by the picture I'm not all that happy at this point!

And FINALLY, there was Beau. He was another HUGE dog! This picture is of Denise trying to get me to pet Beau. I was mildly cooperative, but not all that happy. At this point I took Denise's elbow and led her to the door to take Beau away. I was done for the day!

At then end of the seven dogs I was TIRED and not happy. I'm not crying here, but I'm just ready to be done! Auntie Noel took me for a walk while Denise and Mom finished talking. So here is where we're at: more visits. Denise wants to see me interact with the different dogs on different days to see what the reaction is and if there's any "ah-ha" bonding. Next time we won't see as many dogs though. So we're headed back up to Brigadoon on Saturday, April 26th.

That's the process up until now. Once we find a perfect match we'll move onto the next phase. What do you think? Is it what you expected? If you have any questions, ask my mom and she can maybe give you answers. Maybe she'll work on a FAQ post--so if you have questions--leave them in the comments section! Sorry this was such a long post. Have a great day!


Friday, April 4, 2008

Brigadoon bound on Sunday

Mom's taking me to Brigadoon on Sunday afternoon to see the doggies. Auntie Noel is coming with us, so we'll have hundreds of pictures (I promise I'll only post a few) to put up. Make sure to come back to see them!
Much love,

Thursday, April 3, 2008

An amazing 24 hours

Donation update--I'll give you the weekly update on Sunday, but I just had to post this--three different blogs (not including mine) posted information about my dog for World Autism Awareness Day--as a result $380 was donated in 24 hours. Pretty amazing. I wish I could send each of you a thank you note, so if you can, let me know. I just want you all to know how blessed I am by each one of you. Keep checking back!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

World Autism Awareness Day

Hello Everyone,

April is Autism Awareness Month, and today is World Autism Awareness Day. So I thought I'd do a post with some facts about autism. Know the facts and the warning signs--BE INFORMED! If you know a child who is displaying some of the symptoms of autism--tell their parents. The earlier the intervention, the greater the chance of "recovery". I'm posting a little about autism, some funding facts and what the signs are. I want to make a disclaimer about the funding issues. I believe that the funding for the disorders listed below are important--it's just a comparison ok? :) This information comes from Autism Speaks. Check out their website:

Also, PLEASE check out this video It's 13 minutes but worth the time (get your kleenex before you sit down). Here we go (this is kind of a long post--sorry):

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Did you know…
*1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism
*1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum
*67 children are diagnosed per day
*A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
*More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
*Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
*Autism costs the nation over $90 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next decade
*Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
*Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
*There is no medical detection or cure for autism

Incidence vs. Private Funding
*Leukemia: Affects 1 in 25,000 / Funding: $310 million
*Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 20,000 / Funding: $175 million
*Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 8,000 / Funding: $394 million
*Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $130 million
*Autism: Affects 1 in 150 / Funding: $15 million

Know the signs
*Does not babble or coo by 12 months
*Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
*Does not say single words by 16 months
*Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
*Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age

Having any of these five "red flags" does not mean your child has autism. But because the characteristics of the disorder vary so much, a child showing these behaviors should have further evaluations by a multidisciplinary team. This team may include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant, or other professionals knowledgeable about autism.

Now you know! If you have any questions my mom would love to talk to you. Send her an e-mail at the e-mail address on the right.

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