CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A Harrison girl has raised enough money for her very own service dog to help her deal with disabilities that she’s been living with for most of her life.
Only a day after FOX19 aired a segment about 11-year-old Isabella Thacker, her donation goal was met.
Simply going to a restaurant or a grocery store is difficult for Isabella, who has ADHD and autism.
Her new four-legged friend will make everyday tasks much easier.
“I look at it as she just thinks differently,” Isabella’s mom Maigen Thacker explained. “There isn’t anything wrong with her. Her brain just works differently.”
Isabella was diagnosed with ADHD when she was six and autism about 18 months ago.
Her mom says this year has been especially rough as Isabella started junior high school.
“She’s had a very difficult time socializing with other kids, making friends, things like that,” Maigen continues. “So, we started looking at coping mechanisms for her.”
That’s when they learned about 4 Paws for Ability. A non-profit that trains service dogs. They train dogs to work with kids and adults with disabilities such as PTSD, autism, and much more.
“They [service dogs] learn how to break their [patient] arms away from their face if they’re hitting themselves or pulling their hair,” explains 4 Paws for Ability Volunteer Trainer Lili Scarlato.
“If they’re having a panic attack, they can do behavior disruption by laying over their legs. Just giving that pressure that a lot of children with autism really benefit from,” says Scarlato.
The Thacker’s were required to pay $17,000 of their own money on top of more than $20,000 coming from 4 Paws.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, the Thacker’s only needed to come up with half of the $17,000.
Because of the financial strain and not knowing if they would raise enough money, Meigan didn’t want to tell Isabella about the dog until Thursday.
Isabella is already excited about getting her very own service animal and friend.
“It’s really sad seeing her come home upset because ‘why won’t anybody be my friend,’” explains Meigan. “I really think a service dog will be that bridge that will get her where she needs to be.”
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