We are a military family living in Colorado Springs with our two special needs kids. Our daughter, Elizabeth, was recently diagnosed with several rare genetic disorders including Ehlers-Danlos Type 3, Dysautonomia – POTS, and a Mast Cell Disorder. After three years of searching for an overall diagnosis for Elizabeth and finding it, we realized that a service dog would be life-changing and potentially life-saving for her. On average, it costs $34,000 to train a service dog, and we need to raise $17,000 to help 4 Paws for Ability (a 501 c3 non-profit agency) with the cost.

Raising Elizabeth

Raising Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a very sweet and loving three-year-old who loves to sing, play with her older brother, and dress up as her favorite Disney princesses! She has been through a lot in her short three years. She has had over 10 hospitalizations, multiple surgeries, numerous procedures, and has seen doctors all over the country.

4 Paws for AbilityOn top of her three very rare disorders, Elizabeth also has many other sub-diagnoses some of which include Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, requires braces around her ankles for stability, is dependent on a Gastrostomy and Jejunal feeding tube, and requires oxygen while sleeping for Central Apnea and Periodic Breathing Disorder.

A Multipurpose Assistance Dog would help Elizabeth in three areas:

  • Behavior Disruption (Lap, Nuzzle, Deep Pressure, and Kisses) for anxiety during hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, and other times, and to calm during times of meltdowns and sensory overload.
  • Bark Alert to alert to potential needs and/or medical problems.
  • Balance and Stability to help with her hypermobile joints by providing counter resistance for her unsteadiness and to prevent falls.

Will you help us invest in Elizabeth’s future? Having a service dog today will completely change her quality of life tomorrow! Thank you so much for your time in reading this and your consideration of Elizabeth’s needs. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Elizabeth’s mother, Kathryn Sneed, at singingthroughtherain@gmail.com. Below, is more information about Elizabeth and her journey for a service dog, along with a donation flyer. You can also follow Elizabeth’s journey on Facebook at Raising Elizabeth. Thank you for your help.

Media Kit:  Cover Letter | PR Letter | Donation Request Form

Ways to Help

  • FirstGiving – A website similar to Go Fund Me, but all donations go right to 4 Paws for Ability. Donate here.
  • T-Shirts – Purchase a T-Shirt and all money will go to 4 Paws for Ability.


Why isn’t the service dog free?

“A large majority of the service dog agencies list their dogs as ‘no cost to the recipient, which is often taken to mean ‘free.’ However, service dogs are not free. The agency placing the dogs, ‘at no cost to the recipient’ has received donations for the funding of the dog placed. In other words,
someone other than the recipient paid for the training of his or her dog.

These agencies have a person, or a small number of people, doing the fundraising. They are able to raise funds and the amount of dogs placed is limited to the fundraising they are able to complete on behalf of the organization. This is part of the reason service dog organizations that place service dogs with children tend to have very long wait lists – an average of five to ten years, some even higher! Some agencies aren’t even accepting applications, as their waitlist will keep them busy for the foreseeable future.

The partial payment for service model allows us to expand our fundraising reach. More fundraising is done in less time to more potential donors. This also limits the wait for our
families. There is not a long wait list at 4 Paws. Once the fee has been paid (either in full at the time of application or after the family completes fundraising) you are assigned a spot in our next available placement class. Our available placement classes are roughly 2 years out from the time funding is completed due to the time it takes to breed, raise and train the service dog along with class availability.” – 4 Paws for Ability

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