Cincinnati teen fighting brain disorder is asking for help to get a service dog

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 3:58 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Cincinnati teen is in need of a service dog to help her live with a brain disorder.

“It was just a perfect match from the beginning,” says Holly Pratt talking about meeting her daughter seven years ago.

Holly Pratt adopted Cecilia Pratt in 2015. Cecilia was living in China before Holly brought her here to Cincinnati. Cecilia is 14-years-old and lives with cerebral palsy.

“She’s been asking for a dog for a couple of years at least,” says Holly, “And she wanted a shelter dog. It made sense to her to adopt a dog that needs a family but we couldn’t picture training that dog walking carefully beside her in her walker, not tangle her up, not knock her over in the house.”

That’s when they learned about 4 Paws for Ability. The non-profit trains service dogs to be paired with kids with special needs to provide not only life-saving help but also freedom.

“She loves to do photography for instance, but we’re together all the time when we’re out doing it,” explains Holly. “Wouldn’t she love to go out without mama? Just even to another part of the park and take pictures by herself, sketch and draw by herself. Well, the dog could carry a little backpack to carry some of the equipment that she uses.”

Holly works at the University of Cincinnati and Cecilia is homeschooled. Holly says as a single mom, she is very thankful for the village that is helping her raise her child.

“I think that developing a person requires all the people you can gather around you who love you and see your strengths and see your beauty and just want you to be the person that God made you to be.”

Each 4 Paws family is required to contribute $17,000 to begin the process of placing a dog with the child. It costs 4 Paws for Ability $40,000 for each dog. This family has $15,000 left to collect. Holly says she spent a lot of money on the adoption process and is having a hard time asking for money again. But she knows this will be life-changing for her daughter.

“We know that there are many many good causes out there and I wish that I had the money to be a giant philanthropist,” says Holly, “4 Paws for Ability happens to be the thing that we are involved in right now because we see the value of it for her future.”

If you would like to donate to help Cecilia get closer to getting her very own service dog, you can follow this link. The process takes as long as two years but the family is hopeful Cecilia will continue to improve her health and the use of some of her muscles in the meantime.

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