HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A family in Bridgetown hopes to raise $50,000 to buy two new service dogs, but their search is bittersweet.
Their current autism service dog Jordan is not well and training new service dogs can take up to 18 months or more. Jordan is more than 10 years old and has diabetes and arthritis, but he’s been a Godsend to Christina Jones and her family.
Since she and her father have recently been diagnosed as diabetic, they’re looking for new service dogs for both daddy and daughter.
Jordan is an autism service dog, gifted from a Florida rescue when the Jones family lived in Ft. Lauderdale.
"He was 24 hours from being euthanized, he was rescued out of a shelter. So, he not only got his life saved, but he saved my daughter’s life,” said Mary Jones.
She said her daughter Christina was misdiagnosed 11 years as bipolar, then was later found to be high-functioning autistic.
"Just going into a local grocery store, going on a vacation and doing all those activities were really difficult,” said Mary Jones.
With Jordan’s help, she said, Christina Jones was transformed. She says she later learned autistic children can benefit from a warm body sleeping beside them, because it’s comforting.
They just moved to Cincinnati back in April and Jordan’s health is failing.
With the diabetic diagnoses in mind, Mary Jones says they can train dogs to paw at you when your blood sugar is low, and do a different action when your sugar is high. Other service dogs can detect seizures before you have them, helping autistic children break harmful cycles and meltdowns.
Others can even help kids with severe food allergies.
But the family is running out of time.
"He’s getting older and unfortunately, we know that there’s gonna be a time when we’re gonna have to say goodbye,” said Mary Jones.
Jordan is arthritic and on daily pain medications, and they’re not sure he’ll make it to Christmas. Still, Christina Jones has one wish.
"Is that Jordan be here to see snow,” Mary Jones said. “He’s been a gift that, I cannot imagine her life without a service dog and for my husband, it’s his first. It’s gonna be a life-changer for him.”
At $25,000 for each service dog though, it is a big undertaking.
“Jordan was $15,000 and six months of really hard work -- and a year and a half of training,” Mary Jones said. “I will do whatever it takes to get there. My family is everything to me.”
The family’s first big fundraiser is a golf scramble at the Neumann Gold Course in Bridgetown, Oct. 13 starting at 1:30 p.m.
You can also learn more about the agency which trains dogs like Jordan by clicking or tapping here.