By Nicole Heubusch
Luke Lessard is a 2-and-a-half year old boy in FishHawk who was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which falls under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders. He has moderate to severe symptoms, and attends therapy almost every day. A big part of Sensory Processing Disorder is sensory overload, and in some situations it can cause Lessard to try and get away from where he is as fast as he can. This can be very dangerous for Lessard, who several times has almost run right into the street. Service dogs are known for calming down their owners. One of Lessards’s therapists has a dog, and Lessard tried to bolt from her office and the dog was able to stop him and guide him back.
A service dog will not only keep Lessard safe, but will calm him down and help him to focus. Having the dog with him will help to ease his nerves in social situations, as well as helping him cope with all the moves his military family will make in the future.
“I know this dog won’t ‘fix’ our little guy, but I do know it will help. It will make him smile, calm him down and make him feel safer and happier,” said his mom, Marsha.
Lessard has been approved to receive a service dog from Pawsitive Solutions. The company is located in Northern California and has experienced firsthand how autism service dogs can improve the lives of children and adults with special needs. It also trains dogs to be with owners who have diabetes, epilepsy, and those that are hypoglycemic. For more information on Pawsitive Solutions, visit pawsitivesolu tions.org.
The cost of a service dog is $13,000 and Lessards’s family has raised almost half of that with the help of several veteran organizations. To raise the rest of the money, his family is hosting a 50/50 raffle and tickets are two dollars per person. The raffle will go on until Friday, July 4 and they will announce the winner on Lessards’s Facebook page. A t-shirt for Luke’s cause can also be purchased for $20, or interested individuals can simply just donate money.
To get a shirt or make a donation, visit booster.com/aservicedogforluke.
For more information and to purchase a raffle ticket, visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aservicedog forluke.