Paws for a cause
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Service pets are custom-trained to assist people with physical disabilities affecting one or more limbs, or other serious medical issues. Service pets are typically dogs that are trained to enhance a person’s independence by helping with tasks such as pulling a wheelchair, opening doors, turning light switches on/off or picking up objects as small as a dime. If a client falls, the dog can even act as a brace to help them up. Service dogs are trained to assist people who have Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Rheumatoidal Degeneration, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries,and many other conditions affecting a person’s mobility or strength. Among the many things service dogs are trained to do, they can also assist people who deal with diabetes. Diabetes affects 29.1 million people in the United States, and 23% of those affected are teenagers. The typical daily tasks of people who are diagnosed with diabetes consists of the never-ending demands of diabetes care, such as eating carefully, exercising, monitoring blood glucose,and Junior Jonathan Hofmann knows this life all too well. Hofmann has to wake up several times each night to monitor his blood sugar levels. “It’s not something I enjoy one bit, but it’s a critical task that I have to do in order to stay healthy” Hofmann said.
This past fall, Hofmann along with other Randal students, and Key Club have made many efforts to raise money for a service dog. Hofmann’s service dog would alert him every time his blood sugar needed to be checked instead of him having to prick himself every other hour, and the dog would detect any complications that come with diabetes. Although having a service dog seems like the best option, it’s not the cheapest option. The full cost to breed, raise and train a service dog is around $20,000, and that cost is not including the cost of upkeep of the dog. “Having a service dog would eliminate much of the stress I deal with every day, and would benefit me in many ways when I live on my own” Hofmann, said.
Randall’s Key Club, and the school sponsor Cassi Unger started an event called “Paws for a cause” in an effort to raise money for Hofmann to acquire a service dog. Members of Key Club which includes Hofmann made posters, walked around classroom to classroom asking for donations, and even created a Snapchat filter that allowed those on campus to take pictures to advertise the occasion. “It was amazing to see the school come together for such an event, and raise money for a great cause, I am truly proud of my students,” Unger said. Key Club will continue to accept donations for Hofmann’s ongoing cause, and anyone who would like to be involved can attend a Key Club meeting on any Wednesday, or stop by Mrs. Unger’s room 301 West.