On April 30, 2021, Ian brought home a letter he had dictated to his 1-1 at school. It read,
"Dear Mom and Dad,
I want a service dog because I can take them into restaurants. My service dog, Walter, would be my friend and we would talk and play all the time. My service dog, Walter, can be my helper by bringing things to me without asking others."
Ian is 8 years old and in the second grade. He loves all things history and sports and has expressed thoughts of becoming a speech writer when he is older. Ian also has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He is reliant on a power wheelchair to access the world around him. At this time, he is unable to sit, stand or walk unassisted. For most things in his daily life, he requires some degree of assistance. He has been dependent on other people his entire life. So, when his parents read the letter, they recognized it as a cry for independence and connection.
While we have yet to determine which organization we will work with to get Ian his Walter, we will have to raise money regardless. The going rate for a properly trained mobility service dog starts at $17,000, and goes up to $50,000, with the average being somewhere around $30,000. Many organizations require this money up front. The process can also take up to two years, from application to placement. We cannot do this alone. We believe that Ian deserves the chance to live his life as freely as possible and so we will do everything in our power to help bring Walter home.
Please note that unfortunately, donations to an individual for the purpose of securing a service dog are not considered tax deductible. The IRS determines these donations to be an exchange of service, though donors are not the ones receiving the service. We hope you will still consider supporting Ian's journey to Walter.
Stay tuned for local campaigns in the Winston Salem area! Please share widely to your social media networks, mention it to friends (and strangers!) in passing. Contact businesses you know to see if they would be interested in supporting the cause. This is going to take a team, so let us know if you'd like to be a part of it!
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