Thanks to donations by a few strangers, a Kelowna teen will soon welcome a service dog into her life.
In just one day, the GoFundMe community raised $4,376 for Jamison, who struggles with various mental health challenges.
The challenge to raise the funds came after her family made a plea online to raise $4,000 to help cover the costs of the dog and trainer. Up until this point, the 14-year-old has raised $1,200 of her own by painting pets on rocks, for $25 each.
Faced with autism, anxiety, OCD and depression, the teen said it’s hard for her to go out in public alone. Although she has always been aware of service dogs, she never anticipated how it could help her.
The service dog, Jamison says, will help bring a sense of calm to her life, as well as more independence. It will also help relax her during panic attacks.
“(Dogs) always bring a sense of calm whether they are service animals or not,” she said.
Finding a dog for Jamison wasn’t an easy task. Most organizations, she explained, only give service dogs to youth 12 years old or younger. Outside of this, the cost of training a service dog privately can cost $20,000 or more.
Despite contacting several breeders in the area, Jamison and her family struggled to find an appropriate dog for her. Through a friend of a friend, she managed to secure a golden retriever puppy, her dream dog.
“Being able to say the words ‘I’m getting a puppy’ is so surreal and amazing,” she said.
“I would love to be more independent and be able to go out in public alone without fearing I will be stranded alone panicking. I also may be able to hang out with friends at the mall without having a panic attack.”
To check out Jamison’s art, and commission a painting of your pet, visit her on Instagram @aurtism.creations.
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