COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio (WYTV) — One family in Columbiana is hoping to help their son cope with Autism in a new and interesting way via a service dog.
However, in order to do so, the family needs a lot of help from the community.
Jadon Reaggle, 5, has been diagnosed with the disorder, but his love of electronics, water and especially dogs runs deeper than anything else.
“Some days you have your good days. Some days you have your bad days,” said Jadon’s mother, Jennifer Reaggle.
She and her husband, Joseph Reaggle, are hopeful something happening this weekend will lead to a lot more of those good days. Their neighborhood is hosting a 5K race on Saturday to raise money for a service dog for Jadon.
“The dog is also trained to apply pressure points when Jadon is having a meltdown, which can last from 10 minutes to hours,” Jennifer said.
“To have a dog with him opens up a world of communication. Not only to the dog, but also to other kids and other people,” Joseph said.
It can also help keep him safe.
“They’re known to be little escape artists. And should that happen, the dog will be trained to track Jadon and find him,” Jennifer said.
Even with alarms on all the windows and doors, the Reaggles are in constant fear of Jadon wandering away.
“It means everything. Because the day that we thought he was lost, the first place I went to was the lake. Walking to the lake as a parent, the worst thing’s going through your mind,” Joseph said.
They have to raise a $14,000 donation to a service dog charity for Jadon to qualify for a dog. Then they have to wait 12 to 15 months for the dog itself.
Timing is everything.
“The younger they are, the more help you can get them at a young age, the more difference it’s going to make down the road,” Joseph said.
They are hoping that help gives their son the tools he needs to succeed.
“A couple days ago I just cried because Autism feels like an unbeatable monster that you can’t win. And then other days, he’s just the sweetest little guy,” Jennifer said.
There’s still time to register for the race. It’s being held this Saturday at the Lake Tomahawk Beach in Negley. Registration is $25 and starts at 8 a.m. The race will begin at 9 a.m.