As previously reported, one special Stockton youngster with special needs has been blessed with a family willing to provide him with a service dog to help him acclimate to a more routine and structured life. 

However, much of this specialized training comes at a steep price far outside most typical household budgets and Shadow, the six-month-old chocolate labradoodle chosen for the task, is nowhere near done with her intensely specialized training. 

Currently, Shadow is trained on basic commands including, sit, down, place, block and post.

The latter three commands are more complicated and involve directional and situational observations on Shadow’s part, as well as critical thinking in regard to the services the gifted canine can perform to help young Coy. 

“She’s being trained to recognize situations where Coy may be uncomfortable or in danger,” Lounsbury said. “She will know how to get in between Coy and someone if he’s uncomfortable, she will be taught to intervene in instances of self-harm and will take verbal and visual directions from him.”

Additional commands, recognitions and alerts as she continues her specialized service dog certification, all of which will tailor to Coy’s special needs. 

Speaking to the benefits of Coy’s interaction and new responsibility of handling a service dog, Lounsbury said the service dog’s presence has increased Coy’s activity and added new structure in his daily routine. 

Looking toward the long term, Shadow’s purpose is to give Coy a safer and more comfortable way to operate and succeed in the world as Coy matures and becomes more independent in his pre-adult years.

“This dog is not a pet. She serves so many purposes and she has really helped Coy to do more outside,” Lounsbury said. “It’s teaching him real responsibility and giving him companionship while offering him help, safety and a different way to learn life skills as well as interact in public settings.”

Lounsbury confirmed her family’s appreciation for the communal support offered so far and said the upcoming fundraiser is about thanking the community as much as it is about raising funds for the special canine’s intense training.

“We appreciate all the support from the community,” Lounsbury said. “This means a lot to us and benefits Coy in so many ways. This fundraiser is a way to put ourselves in front of the community, thank them, and have some fun while raising money to complete Shadow’s service dog training.”

Moving ahead to later in the month, the Lounsbury family has organized a large-scale fundraiser for the family’s service dog training efforts beginning at 4 p.m., Saturday, June 27, at the Zumwalt Expo Center located on RB Road, Stockton. 

Complete with large and small auction items, a pie auction, gun raffles and a donation-driven dinner, the event will be held rain or shine and observe any and all social distancing measures event-goers are comfortable with.  

There is no charge for the donation-only meal, no admission fee and the event is open to the entire community. 

Local contributions for Shadow’s training can be made at Great Southern Bank by visiting the organization’s Stockton location at 118 South St. or by sending donation to Great Southern Bank P.O. Box 571, Stockton. 

Additional information regarding ongoing fundraising efforts can be found at www.gofundme.com. 

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