This is What it’s All About – JJ’s Tails: SERVICE DOG FILES

21 01 2020

Okay, this is actually about JJ’s little brother, but the rest of my title is absolutely on point.

Little man has been having a really rough time lately. He’s been very emotional. The fits, tantrums, and melt downs have gone up. He’s the youngest of 7 and within a short period of time, two of his older sisters spread their wings and moved out (about 2 weeks apart) and we think this has a lot to do with him being as emotional as he’s been.

Sunday, trying to get to church was hard. We walked into the building and he was heading for a melt down. I was able to get Grady in there pretty quickly and asked my little guy if he needed to snuggle Grady.

He did.

And the meltdown was interrupted before it really got started.

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And this is what this whole process is all about. This is why all the fundraising pleas. All the hours of looking for just one more idea to help raise money. The time spent in community outreach and working with sponsors to try and raise awareness for my son’s needs.

This moment, when my son was calmed and a meltdown avoided because of an amazing dog that sensed he needed something…

This is what it’s all about.

If you want to learn more about JJ or help him out, you can find both options

here: HELP JJ





JJ’s Tails – Service Dog Files – School Auditoriums

15 12 2019

You guys remember Grady the Great, right? Of course you do! Because he’s awesome ❤️

Last week was full of high school Christmas concerts – Choirs and Bands. We took Grady with us – because that’s his job 🙂 Even just sitting and holding the leash, JJ does better. It seems to be decreasing the anxiety and the anxiety is what really ramps up the repetitive hand movements (he scrapes skin off his thumbs or cracks his knuckles – incessantly. I’ve had to wipe skin off his laptop during school in the past). We’re also teaching him to be mindful of the dog and where he is and what he’s doing.

If you remember from a previous post, Grady is training us. And Tuesday night, I got to learn some things.

If you’ve ever sat in a high school auditorium as an adult, you know there’s not a lot of space between the rows of seats once you add people. I was trying to figure out where to put Grady. I thought I had something figured out, but Grady wouldn’t lay down. I even tried to encourage him to lay down by offering treats. It still didn’t work. He just stood there. He wouldn’t even sit. Then, he started whining. After the selection of songs was over I got up, to see if maybe he wanted to go outside. Instead, he found a spot on the floor and laid down.

I’d left an empty seat so there was floor space for him to lay down, but I guess it wasn’t in the right spot, lol. When I got up, he saw the space he needed.

So, Thursday, when we had ANOTHER opportunity to go sit in the high school auditorium, it went much smoother, because Grady trained me. He let me know the first night what he needed. I realized that night that if Grady isn’t doing what he’s supposed to, it’s probably because I’m doing something wrong.

And while I’m learning to trust him, he’s learning to trust me. It’s my job to make sure he’s safe so he can do his job. That’s the night it dawned on me how much trust this journey is going to take.

And I need to trust the pups because eventually,  I’ll be entrusting one of my most precious things to him; my son.

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Thanks for stopping by! As always, I’m including the link directly to JJ’s Paws 4 Autism fundraising page. And sharing the blog and JJ’s fundraising page is strongly encouraged ❤️





JJ’S TAILS – SERVICE DOG FILES

7 12 2019

Who’s a good boy? Grady’s a good boy!

Part of fostering and training the service dogs with Paws 4 Autism is getting them out and about and experiencing new things, people, and places. Admittedly, Grady is training me – and that’s a good thing 🙂

Recently, we took a trip to physical therapy. Grady’s a good boy, so it was easy to work. He knew what he was supposed to do. And now I have a better idea of what it needs to look like when we’re working with a less experienced dog. Things like where he needs to be when I’m on the elliptical. Or on the table. Or working with the weights. But he’s a pro at this, so I tried to take my cues from him.

He was such a good boy. Once we found a good spot, where he’d be out of the way, he just laid down and waited.

Thanks for being such a good trainer Grady 🙂

As you know, we’re fundraising for a service dog of our own for my 8yo son so he can feel safe going back to school and just navigate his world easier. If you feel you can give something, here’s his DONATION PAGE. Thank you ❤️

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Big Service Dog News!

5 12 2019

I wish I could tell you we’ve already met our fundraising goal – we haven’t. BUT, there’s still some really cool news in this part of our lives!

Everyone, meet Grady!img_9961

Grady is 10 and as far as we know, he was the FIRST Autism Service Dog in the Kansas City area!

As part of our journey, we’re helping foster and train the dogs in the Paws 4 Autism program. But we’re new, so Grady, the veteran of the dogs, is training us 🙂 He’s semi-retired and is switching into this new role of training people 😀

Already, we’ve seen good changes for JJ. Some repetitive motions are being interrupted as he takes on some responsibilities of caring for Grady, and he’s providing a WEALTH of positive interactions with people.

One of the other things that sets Grady apart from the rest of the pack, is that he’s the ONLY lab in the program. The rest of the boys are poodles 🙂

Grady joined us about five days ago. We’re still learning each other, but it’s getting smoother. I’m so excited to be working with such a great dog ❤️

As always, here’s JJ’s Donation page, if you can give a little, it will be appreciated a lot.

Thank you!