Unbelievable

Wow! We hit the $7,000 dollar mark! This is incredible!! We thank each and every one of you amazing donators and supporters (those talking about, sharing, and praying for us). We are blown away be even the smallest gift as we know it was given from the heart, and we were especially blessed by a very out-of-the-blue LARGE donation. Words cannot express our humble gratitude. We have decided that we will get all of our donors names either embroidered on Woofster’s working vest and/or his stylish doggie bandana. We want to always remember those who are making this possible. Thank you!! πŸ™‚

β€” Team Evy

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Words Escape Me

Wow.

That’s really the only word that seems to come to my mind at the moment. It has definitely been blown. I started out with just a spark of hope in my heart that perhaps, somehow, we could get our story out there, but I had to start some where! So, I started this blog, made a Facebook page, set up a GoFundMe account…and hoped. We had a few good responses, mainly from amazing family and friends, but it seemed to be moving slowly. We then had a break through as a reporter for our local newspaper caught wind of our fundraising and asked to do a story about us. I knew this was the opportunity we needed to help not only our fundraiser, but to help spread awareness of spina bifida as well! The story was posted onto AL.com and will be featured in the Sunday paper. Then, I was contacted by one of our local news stations if they could run our story on their site as well as a news cast segment! Seeing Everett’s story on so many different sites, being shared across various social sites (especially The Chive), has been the most amazing thing I have ever seen! A week ago I would have never guessed it would have made it this far. I am so beyond words at the love and support from strangers and the Power of God I see working through these generous hearts. I had a good cry after seeing his picture on the news last night, especially after the news anchors commenting on how they loved the name Everett has chosen for the dog once he/she is in our family. We have such a loving community and, although I have tried to prepare myself for negative comments, we have seen nothing but positive and encouraging words. We have even had a lady who breeds dogs offer to donate a German Shepherd to Everett! We went, in one day, from a little over $120 to over 25% of our $10,000 goal! If THAT isn’t amazing then I don’t know what is!

We have been searching and comparing various options for service dogs. While we know there are still several companies and organizations that give “free” dogs, we feel going with the current company we have selected is the best choice. Yes, it does cost more than waiting for a free dog, but this is exactly what we are trying to bypass–the waiting period. Many times you must be on a waiting list that can last up to 5 years (average 3 years). Many of them also have age requirements that the child must be 8 years old, sometimes even older, to be awarded a dog. The company we have chosen has no age requirement which will also help bypass the waiting period. Everett will obviously be able to handle the dog on his own as he gets older and, even now at 4, I know he could help with small chores such as feeding and brushing. However, I do not think his age should hinder him from being allowed the dog as I will also be trained to handle the dog as well until he can fully manage on his own.

All those who have donated are in my prayers and have left a bright spot on my heart. We truly still do have good people in the world.

Β 

Officially Starting The Process

I have sent in our Pre Application to be reviewed by the new organization I have chosen to go with for our service dog. They then decide if we would be a good match for a service dog and send us the full application to fill out. Our GoFundMe will be a big help if we make it this far. Once filled out and accepted they start the process of securing a dog for the child. Once that is done we pay 25% of the cost. Then they start the training. As they train we are then invited to meet the dog and establish any extra needs or commands we may want the dog to be taught and sign the training agreement. At this point we pay another 25% of the cost. Then we travel again to learn the commands, good techniques to keep up with the training, etc. We then pay the remaining 50% and, after successfully proving we can manage the dog and the commands, we can bring him/her home with us. The cost is a little cheaper than I have seen, but still not CHEAP by any means. However, if accepted the average wait time is MUCH shorter than attempting to get on a waiting list for a β€œfree” service dog (if we can raise the money). That time is about 26-30 months as opposed to 3-5 years. But, it is also $10,000 vs. FREE. However, Highland Canine (the organization we have chose) is just like 4Paws in that they have no age limit for the child which was a big factor! Many organizations only allow older kids to be accepted for the dogs and sometimes you can’t even get on a waiting list until you are at the age requirement. I am praying this heads in the right direction. Please, pray with us, spread our fundraising campaign, and if able any donation is greatly appreciated! Nothing is too small πŸ™‚ Thank you!

β€” Team Evy

Change of plans… again

I have found a new organization I believe will benefit us the most. The waiting list is not as long and the price is more reachable! I will be sending one more email and once I receive some answers I will then proceed with the primarily application to be reviewed. If we are approved the I can proceed with the full application and we then must pay 25% of the cost to hold our place for a dog. That equates to about $2500. I will update more as I learn more from my questions let everyone know about our application. Please continue to share and pray!

β€” Team Evy

Oh my applications

Wow, who knew it was SO much in these applications! I need to get two referrals and my doctor to fill out 3 page forms on TOP of the 10 page form I have to fill out. Whew! But, I’m not giving up! I totally understand why it is such a long process. Service dogs are not for everyone, and I know we would be making a BIG commitment. Not just in terms of filling out forms, training classes, and time for fundraising; but also in terms of caring for the dog. These are working dogs at must be kept up with the very best care, food, and constant use of their commands. They must be recertified often and many people (still) have to fight battles for their dog to be allowed in public even though it is the law. I have read many stories and I am apprehensive of the major lifestyle change we will have to adjust to, but I know we can do it!

β€” Team Evy

Getting things sorted out…

I have been going through various service dog providers and may be chosing one that prefers an non profit funded page instead of an individualized one such as GoFundMe. That being said, all the funds raised thus far will be withdrawn and transferred to the new page if I opt to go with this organization. I will individually contact any donors to let them know if I choose this route. I am also lowering the goal for now. The organization I plan to go with requires fundraising for their organization to qualify for the dog free of charge to the family. This benefits others as getting a tax write off as all funds will go towards the organization instead of to us (which all money raised was going towards an organization anyways). I was not aware when I set up the page that they did not allow GoFundMe pages, but they do approve FirstGiving. I will leave the GoFundMe page up as we complete the process to be approved by 4Paws. If we are, then I will pay out our current account and transfer those donations to the FirstGiving page. However, if for some reason we are NOT approved then I will continue our fundraising on GoFundMe to use towards getting a dog of our own and using a local training facility or finding another organization. Thank you for your patience as we sort all this out! And, most graciously we appreciate your donations and support thus far!

β€” Team Evy