CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT 2020 – JJ and Bandit Fundraiser Opportunity!

23 10 2020

So here’s what happened 🙂

I 3D printed my first ornament of the year.

People liked it. I was encouraged to print more. So I did.

So here’s the deal. If you want one, you can go to the link in the picture by typing it in, clicking on it HERE, or scanning the QR code. That’s JJ’s fundraising page. Make a $10 donation. You’ll have the chance to leave a written message. In that message, please let me know the donation is for the TP ornament, and if you want more than one, please let me know the number you’d like.

Easy peasy lemon squeasy, but feel free to ask questions if you have any.

Thanks for stopping by!


PS Stay tuned – next project, street lamp made from paper. Lamp lights up!

The Call – JJ and Bandit – Service Dog Files

15 10 2020

Super short today guys…but I got a call today.

I answered it, and was told there was a problem with Bandit.

It’s getting time for the dogs in training to rotate foster homes and Bandit won’t be able to


Bandit and JJ matched.

My son now has a service dog. His best friend is staying.

BUT this was ONLY possible because other people have paid it forward. I say that like it’s not a big thing, so let me rephrase it.

My son has a service dog because OTHER PEOPLE were kind enough to PAY FOR IT ahead of time.

I don’t know who all the people were that paid for my son’s dog, but I’m SO grateful to them.

So now we’re switching gears. WE will keep raising money, because WE will be paying it forward to make it possible for someone else to find the same magic we have.

So please, continue to remember JJ and Bandit. They are the faces of the families you may never meet but you could make such a difference for them by continuing to donate through JJ’s fundraising page here.

I’m also open to suggestions for fundraising. I have some ideas, but I need help to make them a reality and make them feasible, so stay tuned for those ❤

Thank you again for being on this journey and for stopping by today.


Bump in the Night – JJ and Bandit Service Dog Files

6 10 2020

One of the jobs an autism service dog can do is help their person sleep.

My son, like many on the spectrum, has trouble sleeping. Specifically, he has trouble calming and regulating enough to be able to fall asleep. There have been some long nights, and even some nights that didn’t end. There were times when our medications were out of whack and sleep NEVER came.

As a reminder, Bandit is leaning to work with children – that’s how we’re helping as we foster. He sees me as the person to follow, because that’s what he’s used to. But he’s tethered to JJ most of the day and he’s starting to get comfortable with me farther away, which is exactly what we want him to do ❤️

We started a nighttime routine that lets JJ fall asleep with Bandit.

That’s what’s happening right now. I’m sitting on the hardwood floor writing this as those two snooze away lol. The goal is for Bandit to stay in JJ’s room with him throughout the night, but we’re not there yet. Bandit still gets up and leaves the room with me when my back decides it can’t sit on the floor any longer. But the ease of the transition is getting faster. Both boys are settling into this routine and I feel like there are only good places to go from here ❤️

Thanks for stopping by


As always, if you’d like to read more about JJ’s story, you can find it here: help JJ. If you’re interested, you can also donate to our fundraising efforts there ❤️


6 09 2020

We’re making these signs as a fundraiser for Paws 4 Autism and JJ.

You can find out more information about them here, E-Learning Signs, including size, shipping, and customization info.

As always, feel free to share, especially if you know someone who could use a little chuckle right now 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Alta and JJ


4 09 2020

Boy howdy it’s been a busy month!

First, don’t forget about our Ear Saver/Mask Holder fundraiser here, for JJ.

A lot has been going on, and some of it I already planned to share. But something cooler happened yesterday and I’m going to share that today, instead.

I’m sure you can guess that a service dog needs to have a good bond with the person who needs them. Bandit is an AMAZING dog and has had some pretty fantastic dog mommies. He hasn’t been around young kids much though. So naturally, he followed me around the first few weeks. Then we went out of town for a few days and he stayed with one of his dog mommies ❤

When we picked him up, he was pretty happy to see us which felt awesome, like we were maybe doing a good job as his foster family 🙂 He continued to follow me around, which wasn’t unexpected.

We’ve been working with JJ the last month on interacting with the dog. Although he pets the other dogs, he hasn’t really PLAYED with them and was unsure how that worked (see previous blogs for those posts) 🙂

Bandit has been odd about his food, too, often refusing to eat if he can’t see me. But this week…HE LET JJ FEED HIM! It was so good for that bond we’re trying to build. Bandit can’t be an autism service dog for me, since that’s not my diagnosis. To really be able to do his job, he HAS to focus on JJ (or Isaac). And this week, we may have turned that corner. He gets excited when he sees JJ. He’s starting to come to him when JJ calls, even if he doesn’t have a treat. He gets anxious when Isaac is upset and tries to get to him to help (remember, Isaac (4) is also autistic).

A few nights ago, I saw JJ and Bandit like this:

Bandit was laying HIS head on JJ instead of the other way around.

Usually, JJ’s laying on Bandit, but not this time. It was such a sweet moment!

Yesterday, after ABA therapy, we had music therapy. Bandit surprised me a little when he sat down by JJ. I was on the other side of him, which is typical, but his focus was totally on JJ.

And today, during ABA, Bandit kept an eye on both boys. Isaac was outside with his therapist and Bandit would trot to the door and watch. Then he’d trot into the living room and check on JJ. He kept making the rounds until Isaac was back in the house.

Here’s the boys during session today 🙂

This just makes my heart so happy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a safe holiday weekend ❤️


Alta and JJ

As always, if you’d like to check out Paws 4 Autism, click here: Awesome people

If you’d like to read more about JJ’s story, or make a donation, you can find his page here: Help JJ

Bandit: Service Dog Files

9 08 2020

One of the things Bandit is doing for JJ is giving him “something” to do.

JJ struggles to find appropriate things to do on his own. So WE have to make sure he always has something to do to stop him from getting in to trouble. We worked with his therapy team at the beginning of the year to try and figure out how to “keep him out of trouble,” because keeping him out of trouble is proving WAY easier than actually getting him through the consequences of getting himself in trouble.

It’s helped. A LOT.

And now, among the many things Bandit is learning to do for kids on the spectrum, helping provide something for them to do is one of those things. He holds my son’s attention and that’s not always easy.

Good boy Bandit!

For more information about JJ’s story, or Paws 4 Autism, just follow the links.

Thanks for stopping by!


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.


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


18 01 2020

Hey guys! This is for my local friends and family.

Granite City in Zona is doing another Dine to Donate fundraiser for us! We’re so excited to be working with them again ❤️

Hope to see you there!

Also, if you’d like to read more about JJ, or donate directly to our fundraising, you can go here: Help JJ

You can read about the organization as a whole, there, as well, by selecting the various tabs.

New Paws4Autism Flyer

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.


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 ❤️

Giving Tuesday and Service Dogs

2 12 2019

You know we’re fundraising for an autism service dog for my 8yo son so he can feel safe going back to school.

On this Giving Tuesday, I just wanted to remind people that his fundraising campaign is an option. The organization we’re using is a charitable organization so any donations to my son’s page on their site are tax deductible. You can read more about them on their website:

The money we need to raise will to train future dogs so our family and others will have hope on some of those hard autism days. We’re paying it forward. Can you help us by donating on his page and sharing his story?

Thank you.