39 Year Old Single Mother Seeks Grant For Service Dog For Disabled Son
by Sherry Martinez
(Riverside, CA, USA)
I am a 39-year-old single mother. I have three children ages 19, 17, and 3. It's my 3 year old that is inspiring this letter.
His uncle and grandfather were both in the military. His uncle is no longer in the Air Force. My father (the grandfather of my son) is no longer alive but had also been out of the Navy.
My 3 year old has the disability. He was born with a birth defect. He did not develop his diaphragm on the left side.
The defect resulted in his bowel, stomach and liver moving into his chest cavity. This caused his left lung to not develop normally.
I was 25 weeks pregnant when I was informed that my son had a very slim chance to live. My son was born by emergency c-section.
When he was born he died. The doctors and nurses worked on him with CPR and he did come back. Sadly though the CPR caused a grade 3 head bleed.
My tiny baby had to go on ECMO, which is a heart and lung bypass machine. This was his last hope.
The doctors informed me that if his head bleed went to a grade 4 he would have to be taken off ECMO and he would die.
The morning of the third day I thought my son was not going to live. I got the best surprise of my life. They were taking my son off ECMO thinking he could make it off of the machine. He did make it but after the bleed reabsorbed, it left behind hydrocephalus.
Now we had to repair his diaphragm and get his head repaired. My son spent weeks on ventilators first high frequency then low frequency.
Once on the correct ventilator the doctors could begin the surgeries needed to repair my son. He spent 2 months in the NICU.
To date he has had 8 surgeries with one now pending. A new side effect of the head bleed is seizures.
I am looking at getting a service dog for my son to help him become independent. A dog can alert me when he has a seizure, if he has trouble with his breathing.
There are many unknowns still that can happen to my son. Having a service dog trained to his special needs will help us both have independence.
As it is right now he sleeps with me so I monitor his every move but as he gets older he will need to get into his own space.
I am the only support to every member of my family all living at home. My daughter is in college and my oldest son is a senior in high school. And then there's my special needs son who of course needs everything I can give him.
I have done my research on a service dog and one can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 depending on how long the dog needs to be at training camp.
I found a company named Doggie Do Good (www.doggiedogood.com). They can help me with picking out a dog with a good temperament.
I make enough money to pay for my house (I own my home), car, food, clothing, and the basic needs of running a household. I just do not have the means to provide my son with his new best friend.
I have to work from home, as I need to be here to care for my son everyday. I have a daycare that is run out of my home.
I have an assistant as I need to focus on my son and if I need to get him to doctors' appointments or even to the hospital.
I need to be able to leave the house at a moment's notice, so my assistant runs the daycare with my help and supervision.
My son does get SSI, and IHSS. Both are great supports for me to run my household. My daycare only brings in about $12,000 a year so those sources of income are all put back into his care.
I am looking for enough money to pay for a service dog for my son. If I cannot get all the money, I would be thankful for some money to help towards the cause.
The dog will be around for many years and so it is a good investment. My son will feel safe and be able to feel more independent whenever he gets to an age to start venturing out on his own.
Getting the dog now gives them a chance to bond and it takes time to get the puppy trained.
My son is still young and it is still safe for him to sleep with me in my bed. This is a process I wanted to start early when I am not in a panic to get it done.
Thank you for giving me this chance to get my son the support he needs. Sherry