It’s taken two years for a Maryville family to get a tool they say is greatly needed for their son with special needs. The Pass family learned in June 2017 they’d been approved for a trained service dog.
Their little boy Blake has autism and epilepsy. Because service animals can be costly, the family was hoping to raise $25,000 through online campaigns and T-shirt fundraisers.
Blake finally learned this week that he’s getting his missing puzzle piece in life.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” said Jeffery Pass.
Over the last few days, the Pass family has been able to get off that roller coaster thanks to their new service dog, Tony.
“It’s been something that’s been a big burden on our hearts and something we’ve been praying so hard to God himself,” added Jeffery Pass.
The family learned Blake had epilepsy when he was a baby. Then years later he was diagnosed with autism. The family said doctors suggested a service dog to help.
“Even though his seizures have kind of diminished, we never know when another one is going to strike. He can’t be left alone even when he’s going to the bathroom,” explained Jeffery Pass.
The family has worked since 2017 to get Blake a service dog. Now with Tony living in the home, Blake’s parents say he’s much safer, and they have peace of mind.
“He helps keep him calm and he also helps, he’s tethered to him when we’re out, so we don’t have o worry about him running,” said Megan Pass.
The family says getting Tony happened through donations and their savings.
“We believe in the Lord and we trust in Him and we believe whatever His time is, is the right time. We’ve wanted to rush this up so much for Blake, is battle, he’s the one who had to endure it, but we had to put our faith in God,” said Jeffery Pass.
Now the family is able to watch 6-year-old Blake have a childhood and a sense of independence.
“He already knows, he’s already got that sense,’This is my kid.’ He’s taking force, so seeing that is a blessing in itself,” added Jeffery Pass.
“He walked like two miles the other day with Tony, never stopped, never threw a fit, never tried to run and it’s just amazing,” said Megan Pass.
Over the next four months, Tony and Blake will be working with trainers on commands, behaviors, responses and alerts in case there’s an emergency.
As a way to thank the community for all their support, the Pass family threw a large party at their church. The Passes say their superhero got his sidekick.