Help Xavier get a service dog

Help Xavier get a service dog

From Christine Nielsen-Buckley

I’m raising money to help with getting & training a psychiatric service dog to assist with my ptsd, major depressive disorder and anxiety. I was diagnosed a few years ago and have really struggled the last 1 1/2 years.

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Hi, my name is Xavier and I’m 14 years old and I have mental illnesses. Talking about it isn’t my favorite thing, but I believe it’s important to end the stigma, hopefully help others and also to let you know who you’re helping and why. 

The last year and a half has been very difficult and I’ve really struggled. I lost my cousin, who was one of my biggest supporters and helped raise me when I was younger, to suicide. My grandfather, who lives with my mom and me, became extremely sick and needed a lot of care, I was hospitalized a couple of times and everything together added a lot of stress to my Mother, as well as a lot of added expense. There were other things, but I prefer not to talk about them right now.  My suicidal ideations became daily and my anxiety was affecting everything I did.  I realized I was no longer safe and told my mom and she got me into an inpatient program right away. I then did a two week outpatient program. Things were manageable for a little while but then became even worse than before. I told my mom and we drove to Iowa city that night and I went inpatient for a little over 3 weeks and then did outpatient treatment for 2 months in Cedar Rapids. We got to move back home a few days before New Years! 

I had been talking about getting a service dog for awhile but my mom wanted to wait till I was a little older and could really help in its training and care. After discussing with my therapist, doctors and family, we feel that not only is the timing right but there’s a definite need for it. 

I feel like having a service dog could make a big difference in my life. He will be trained to recognize my anxiety and help me control it, get my medications, step in if I try to self harm and get someone if I need them, as well as other things. 

Getting and training a service dog is a pretty big expense and time commitment. There are public programs but the waiting list can be years and the expense is crazy. We are very lucky that we talked to Renee at Bark Avenue kennel in Dayton and she was a huge help. She pointed us to someone who would work with me on the obedience training one on one and then we will move to a different trainer to do the service training. She also found a dog for us!! We will begin vetting him to see if he is a good fit with the trainer on Monday. 

Everything moved so much faster than we thought and part of the deal was I needed to do fundraising and also find ways to earn money to help with the cost. Between medical bills, travel expenses, and changes to the house, for Grandpa, there isn’t much extra after the last year and a half  

I would very much appreciate any donation you can spare!  In addition to that, I will be making and selling bracelets, I’ll post pictures of a few in a couple days and update the information. I will also be walking dogs and/or brushing them if anyone is interested. Please contact me or my mother on Facebook or by text and we can set something up. 

I’m also designing some t-shirts you can purchase, planning a bingo/spaghetti supper night with a bake sale with some help from my family and friends. I currently have some donations for a silent auction as well. When the weather gets warm I’ll do a dog and car wash, you can bring one or the other and even both! It should be fun

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