Autism. We knew that something was different with our Will. I say different not to compare him or put a label on him, but to start to describe some of the things that we were experiencing before the full diagnosis in July 2020. Will has never liked snuggling. He’s never really bonded with people. He also doesn’t say much. Then we noticed other things like the lining up toys, the sensory issues with everything including eating. He never slows down. It’s like his little body runs on a motor. But our major issue that we noticed was the fact he has ZERO fear, he doesn’t understand dangerous situations nor does he understand that in a parking lot we have to hold hands. If we set him down even in the yard he’s gone. It’s a full blown chase until you can physically put your hands on him to stop him. Wandering and elopement come with Autism.
I started researching service dogs. The very first time I talked with Tim Franks from On Command in Joplin, Missouri I knew he was our guy. I started to feel a sense of panic as I knew that this could really change our Wills life, but how in the world were we going to cover this cost. I expressed this to Tim and told him to just bare with my questions and concerns so I could try and figure this out. Three days after our first conversation he calls me to say I have a number for a foundation called Saber Life Foundation. They help place service dogs with people in your shoes. I was so thankful that he took the time to give us a call to see where that road lead.
I called as soon as I hung up the phone, and was able to leave a message. They called back later that evening. I was absolutely in aww of their story and how they started their foundation. Then they listened to our story. Where we were at and they said something to me that has stuck. “This really isn’t a want for your family and Will this is a NEED”. At that moment I knew that they understood. They listened to my tears like they have known me my whole life. We finished the conversation and I was awaiting the application. As soon as I received it I stayed up way past bed time so I could think. Told my self that Liz you may have bitten off more than you can chew and that this may be impossible. But I knew I had to try. After all I’m am Autism mom and well we don’t quit.
It went into the mail the next morning and 3 days later I received a call from Danea and Joel from Saber Life that they received the app and they would be meeting with their board that next evening. I don’t think I have ever been on pens and needles like that in my life. But the next day they called and said we had been APPROVED! They had me on speaker with he entire bored as well as Tim and I couldn’t say thank you enough and will never be able to say it enough. See what this means is Saber Life foundation covers a very generous portion of the cost for the training for a dog that will help our Will. I still say to my family I can’t believe this is happening and we are eternally thankful for this foundation and their understanding of the importance of these animals. They asked can you come up Sunday to sign a contract. We screamed YES. THAT SUNDAY was my birthday and it will always be my very favorite birthday!
We now have a service dog in training for our Will. We did some hands on with some of the task we are asking for and I can’t put into words how that made us feel. I knew right then that this is a need for us. Our family is so incredible thankful for The Saber Life Foundation and Tim Franks for their dedication and true love for helping others. We have added some very great people to our team Will and thank you isn’t enough.