“daun-ting” (adjective): seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation
Daunting is a word that is incredibly familiar to anyone who has seriously considered a service dog, and for Avery & her parents, the situation was no different. “She just wanted to be independent.” A brain injury at twelve years old left Avery with a large mass in her brain and the daunting task of learning how to walk again. “She wanted to do things like every other twelve-year-old. She wanted to walk around the block, but couldn’t unless her mom walked with her and held her hand for balance. She wanted to walk to class by herself or with friends, but had to have a teacher escort her to make sure she didn’t fall,” her mom Kaytee said. “We needed a dog trained in mobility.”
After learning about 4 Paws for Ability from another family, Kaytee and Travis had their own daunting task; finding a service dog for Avery. “We looked around and we were unable to find any place that had mobility dogs and allowed kids to be the handler. What is the purpose of a service dog for independence if she had to have a parent with her? But then we quickly learned that 4 Paws was the best,” and the process was underway.
“It seemed daunting honestly. So much paperwork and doctor’s letters, and the price. The price was so very daunting,” Avery’s mom said. “But looking back, it wasn’t as bad as we thought. It’s getting started that was hard. ‘Biting the bullet’ if you will. Once we decided to just do it, it was smooth sailing.”
“Once we shared why we wanted to get Avery a service dog, people were coming from everywhere to help us any way they could and we were able to raise it all in just two months!”
In the summer of 2022, Johnnycakes was officially placed as Avery’s service dog, and his impact is already being felt.
“We have had Johnnycakes for nine months. He really has changed her life and ours. She’s able to walk around the block without a parent, and she is more outgoing in public. People aren’t staring at her disability anymore, they are staring at her dog, but that’s good attention!!! She is now able to be a regular thirteen-year-old kid,” her mom says. “Regular means you get to take your best friend everywhere.”
With Johnnycakes in their daughter’s life, Kaytee and Travis are finding balance too. “We all can just breathe a little bit easier. We don’t have to be with her every single second to make sure she isn’t falling over. Johnny holds her hand.”
“These dogs are amazing and worth every dollar and minute we waited.” For Avery and her parents, nothing is daunting anymore with Johnny, “A purebred good boy.”