TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A local non-profit is helping to change lives, making daily activities once impossible for families, much more manageable.
Nathan Wallace, 10, has autism and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. His mother Betsy tried for years to get him a service dog with no luck, until she recently found Heelers 4 Heroes.
"Since Sandy's been with him, he's not hurt himself or anyone else in the home. So she's actually saved the house," said Betsy.
She said Sandy is trained to protect Nathan and also step in when there's a shift in his behavior.
"When Nathan has a meltdown, she'll jump on Nathan's back and start licking him, so he comes out of the meltdown. So his meltdowns have gotten shorter," added Betsy.
Heelers 4 Heroes was created to fill the void in our area for psychiatric service dogs, particularly for veterans with PTSD and those with autism. The non-profit breeds Australian Cattle Dogs and works with the recipient to train the dogs to meet their needs.
Best of all, it's all free. Service dogs can cost anywhere between $13,000 and $30,000. Anyone interested in heaping Heelers 4 Heroes can donate here.
"We meet weekly, once a week and train with them and give them homework assignments," said Executive Director for Heelers 4 Heroes, Anne Caulder.
"I'm so blessed to have found them. We all are," said Heelers 4 Heroes recipient, Cindy Bachar.
Her son Jacob has some social issues. His dog Charlie Brown helps the family keep up with him, and also helps him take on household tasks.
"Jacob is taking a lot more responsibility around the house, helping with chores. Even little things for a child with disabilities," said Cindy.
Those little things are making a major difference for these families.
Service dogs can cost anywhere between $13,000 and $30,000.