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A boy's best friend
Most children have dogs as loyal companions. The play together, sleep together and look out for one another.
But for three year old Jaxon Bruce, his dog could save his life.
About six months ago Jaxon was diagnosed with stage two autism spectrum disorder and is receiving full time intervention. Instead of feeling sorry or upset with the finding, Hollie, Jaxon's mom, says they are fortunate the toddler was diagnosed at such a young age.
We know with therapy and resources, Jaxon can fit right in when he start school, Hollie explained.
One of the tools the Bruce family is working on is a service dog trained to calm the young boy and track him when he runs away. With the new pet by their side, Hollie is hopeful she can accomplish every day errands, like going to the bank or grocery store, without Jaxon throwing any tantrums.
In many ways, Hollie's son looks and acts like any other child.
"People don't know he faces many challenges. It's hard to take him out," said Hollie, explaining the tantrums turn into meltdowns all the time when they are out of their home because there is too much stimulation for him and he doesn't know how to cope. "I get a lot of nasty comments and dirty looks all the time."
Hollie has been researching service dogs for months now and she and her husband, Jeremy, are convinced one will help their family. But not only is there a long wait list for the pets, the $25,000 cost is also more than the family can bear.
Fortunately, Hollie has found a potential dog for Jaxon in Mission, who is just beginning his training. It will be at least four months before the golden retriever named Jake is ready for work, and in the meantime, the Bruce family is working on fundraising the money they need.
Rubber wristbands are being sold at several stores around the community for $5 each, and Lanka Jewels is donating a two-carat diamond tennis bracelet to be raffled off on Christmas Eve to support the family. The bracelet is valued at $2,5000, and raffle tickets are $20 each.
Raffle tickets are available at Lanka Jewels, located at the Junction Mall, or online at www.lankajewels.ca. The wristbands can be found at Lanka Jewels, T & T Auto Parks, Natural Reflextions and Mr. Pets. Donations can also be made online through Paypal at www.autismservicedogsbc.com. Click on Jaxon's story, Make A Dream Come True, under Ways to Give.