Cove family raising funds for service dog
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A Copperas Cove family is raising funds to provide their six-year-old daughter with a four-legged companion one day that will keep her safe and improve the quality of her life.
Lily Steele had her first seizure when she was an infant, and then began having them regularly when she was three, said Jessica Steele, her mother.
“She has atonic seizures that are called drop attacks. In a drop attack, her body goes completely limp and she falls to the floor, without warning,” said Jessica. However, with a service dog, Lily won’t just get a warning about an impending seizure, she’ll have a companion that is trained to move between her and any object that would hurt her, should she fall on it.
Jessica said her daughter has had bruises, black eyes, busted lips, and has even split her forehead open when having a seizure. Lily’s on medications for the seizures, but drop attacks are hard to control with medication.
Doctors have told Jessica and Curtis Steele, Lily’s father, that it doesn’t look like Lily is going to outgrow these seizures, either, as can be the case with some children who have early childhood seizures.
The Steele family is working with an organization called 4 Paws For Ability, Inc., an Ohio-based nonprofit that raises, trains and places service dogs with individuals who have a variety of special needs.
According to 4 Paws For Ability, seizure assistance dogs are trained in behavior disruption, a skill started in the organization’s autism program.
It costs approximately $30,000 for a service dog, which includes food, training, housing and veterinary care, and the Steeles are required to raise $17,000 of that funding.
So far, they’re about halfway there, said Jessica.
4 Paws for Ability provides referrals for fundraising activities, such as one of the activities the Steeles are doing now, a shoe drive with a group called Funds2Orgs.
They are collecting gently worn, used and new shoes, and Funds2Orgs pays per pound based on the total weight of the shoes collected. Funds2Orgs will pick up the shoes, weigh them, and the funds will get credited to the Steeles’ account with 4 Paws For Ability.
After the Steeles raise the funds for Lily’s service dog, their work is not done. They will send samples of Lily’s clothing to 4 Paws 4 Ability so her dog will become familiar with Lily’s scent and recognize her when they meet. At this point, 4 Paws 4 Ability has a waiting list for applicants and those raising funds for service dogs are placed in “classes” on a first-come, first-served basis. The earliest Lily could qualify for a class is 2019.
Local shoe collection locations include:
Bens Service Center, 801 Leonhard St.
North Pointe Church, 1115 N. Main St.
Friends of Gatesville Public Library, 111 N. 8th St.
The Feed Mill, 108 N. 6th St.
Bare Bones Barbeque, 4305 S. State Highway 36
Blackacre Title Company, 1705 E. Main St., Ste. B
Blackacre Title Company, 100 W, Central Texas Expressway, Ste. 311
Crossfit 254, 3905 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Rollins Brook Community Hospital, 608 N. Key Ave.
More information about the Steeles can be found at: https://www.razoo.com/story/H6jkwe.