Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family To Yours!

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All month we here at W.A.G.S. 4 Kids have been sharing stories of thanks, of partnership, of achievement and of empowerment. Today is no different. Except, maybe it is. Today, on Thanksgiving, “Thank You” is supposed to mean something more. And so today, we at W.A.G.S. 4 Kids would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. On behalf of our board, staff, volunteers, inmate apprentices and 55 families and children across Northeast Ohio who have already benefited from our programs and the countless more that will – We Thank YOU! We celebrate 10 years of changing lives with you – the ones we could not have done it without. We are the charity that Cleveland grew. There is no us without you.

A Story of Thanks…Friends For Life – Kyle & Molly as told by Mom, Diane Kobunski

Kyle & Molly, his W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Service Dog. Molly is Kyle's second service dog received from W.A.G.S. 4 Kids. Buddy, Kyle's first service dog and also a golden retriever, retired in 2012.

Kyle & Molly, his W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Service Dog. Molly is Kyle’s second service dog received from W.A.G.S. 4 Kids. Buddy, Kyle’s first service dog and also a golden retriever, retired in 2012.

“Kyle is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, has seizures and is completely dependent on us. When we saw how he would laugh and smile when a dog was around him, we knew he needed to have a doggie. It could not be a ‘typical’ dog though, as Kyle can be a little rough with his grasp. We knew it had to be a ‘special companion’ that was trained to accept Kyle’s grasp and body movements.

When you have a special needs child and especially one that cannot speak, you have to communicate through eye contact and facial expressions. So, to watch how Kyle’s face lights up and to hear his laugh when Molly comes around him, can bring me to tears on a daily basis. Molly picks up the toys and cloth that Kyle plays with during the day. And Molly initiates a game of ‘tug of war’ with Kyle and a toy, which involves Molly pulling Kyle around the kitchen in his wheelchair and Kyle laughing so much he gets hiccups!”

Kyle & Molly - Friends For Life

Kyle & Molly – Friends For Life

“There is no better gift to give a child than a fuzzy companion that will be there for them. No words need to be spoken–just their presence–their head on his lap or jumping up and laying next to him in bed. The work and dedication that W.A.G.S. 4 Kids does with these dogs is beyond words! We have been in amazement with this organization since we discovered them and see first hand what a difference it can make in these kids lives.”

In terms of working with the training team to work through any issues or non-issues, Diane confesses “Wendy is tough, she trains us to make sure we know how to handle any situation. Tough love—its all good! Wendy, Ed and Sera, are there for us anytime we need anything. You are literally a phone call away.” Having been one of the first families to receive a dog, when Buddy was first placed with their family in 2005 (retired in 2012), the Kobunski’s are intimately familiar with the W.A.G.S. community and our family-first focus, “Anything you need, anytime they are there to help. The knowledge and dedication to these animals and then to the families cannot be compared! We just need to continue to get the word out about you and you the necessary funding to continue your work.”

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Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family To Yours!

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A Thankful Thanksgiving – Rocco’s Girl Tori

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Rocco was born July 25, 1997 with Autism-Developmental Delay. Rocco has always been an animal lover. Rocco loves the outdoors and to spend time with his family in his yard. He has a several challenges in his life, and will have more in the future. Rocco asked for a companion that will make him feel safe and positive about himself.
His family along with Rocco believed a service dog will help him improve his socialization and relationship skills. Providing Rocco with structure, a sleep aid, responsibilities, and most importantly a skilled companion.
Their hopes of support were answered en-mass. Never before have more individual gifts been received for a single child. Whether it was $5, $10, $20, whatever anyone could spare – the power of the brother-ship that is the Cleveland Police Department and First Responders poured in to support Rocco’s special wish. Community members, Angelo’s Pizza & West Park Station stepped in and hosted 2 fabulous fundraisers!
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Largely driven by the passion and support of Rocco’s Dad – Special Thanks to Scott Taylor (19 Action News), Jaci Fox (NEW 102.1), Jenn Harcher (19 Action News), Chris Heben (Animal Planet), Andre Knott (WTAM 1100), Joe Lull (92.3 FM), Melissa Reid (FOX 8), Daryl Ruiter (92.3 FM), Mark Zinni (Fox 8) , and Poppa D And The Aggravators!
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Says Rocco’s Mom, “Sera and Wendy have been so wonderful, we consider them family…..God Bless them and all parties who were involved……….”
With all of your support – we know you know how much Tori means to Rocco. It’s in every glance between them. We hope you will choose this holiday to help Rocco with your donation in hopes to make his dream come true, help him cross the finish line and reach his goal. WE’RE SO CLOSE! Afford him a service companion canine who will aid him throughout Rocco ‘s journey in life.
Rocco & Tori

Rocco & Tori

Make a donation to help Rocco!

Make A Donation Online Now To Help Rocco Reach His Fundraising Goal!

Make A Donation Online Now To Help Rocco Reach His Fundraising Goal!

Donate Online Now

Donate Online Now!

You can also mail a check to:

WAGS 4 Kids

112 East Center Street

Berea, OH 44017

Please make a memo note that your donation is for Rocco

Come Back Next Week For Our Thanksgiving Day Blog! ALL THANKS TO YOU!

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Nick Walczak & his service dog, Turner

Summit on Making Northeast Ohio Communities Safer

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November 17, 2014 – North Canton, OH – On Tuesday, November 18, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) is a hosting a Summit on Making Northeast Ohio Communities Safer, an unprecedented event in the Northeast Ohio area to share what the Ohio prison system and its community partners are doing to reduce the likelihood of inmates going to back to prison after they make the transition to the community.

Working Animals Giving Service for Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids) and Presenter, Wendy Nelson Crann will host “FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS – PATTERNING EXCELLENCE IN BEHAVIOR” Join Ms. Crann, the Executive Director of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, as she shares a 12 minute video and discussion of her award-winning service animal, “Cell Dog” training program. She will also introduce former inmate Josh Allendar who is now a W.A.G.S. employee and active trainer in the Grafton Correctional Institution’s program. They will engage in a discussion of the goals of re-entry employment through rehabilitative skills training programs. Objectives:

*Programming for long term inmate populations

*Transferring program skills to successful re-entry performance

*Planning support toward re-entry income earning opportunities

Ms. Crann oversees all training aspects of the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids programs including foster home selections for puppies and ongoing training evaluations. She is a member of the Delta Society, a Provider Member of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) and was chosen by the American Kennel Club as a registered evaluator for their Canine Good Citizen’s qualification certifications.

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“We are so happy with our partnership with ODRC. We have been at Northeast Ohio Release, North Central Correctional Complex & Grafton Correctional Institution. We feel it is a true partnership with the ODRC for our charity.” Crann continues, “We look forward to many more years and the opportunity to bring long term rehabilitative inmate programming with true rehabilitative opportunity. The future of W.A.G.S. Is very much tied to the future of the ODRC. It’s a win-win-win”

Over 50 workshops will be presented covering a range of topics including housing, education, vocational training, recovery services, pro-social programming, victims issues, faith-based partnerships and more. The Summit also includes over 90 booths by community agencies and organization as well as employers. The Summit also offers wellness checks and information for all participants. Law enforcement personnel and attorneys, social service agencies, community organizations, clergy and members of faith communities, ex-offenders and interested citizens are all encouraged to participate! The Summit is free (lunch will be available for cost). Registration begins at 8 AM. An opening session with a presentation by ODRC Director Gary Mohr begins at 9 AM. The event ends at 4 PM. The Summit is taking place at Faith Family Church, 8200 Freedom Ave, North Canton. The W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Workshop will be held from 12:20 –  1:20pm in Room 1. Staff will be available afterwards to answer any questions. For more information about W.A.G.S. 4 Kids visit: http://www.wags4kids.com

 

Press Contact:

Sera Nelson

Director of Development & Special Events

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

Phone: 216-586-5853 x 2

E-mail: sera@wags4kids.com

A Story Of Thanks – Vincie And Harper

Vincie
Working Animals Giving Service for Kids in Need – Meet Vincie!

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids met Vincie in January of 2014 as a 6 year old boy.  He  loves life, is full of energy, adores his brothers, and wants to always play baseball!  Vincie was born 6 weeks early.  He was failure to thrive at 9 months of age and did not hit any of his milestones.  After a lot of sickness and difficulty, we finally discovered that Vincie was born with a chromosomal deletion called 13Q deletion.  We then found out that he has mild brain damage, which they have labeled as mild cerebral palsy.  Since the age of 1, Vincie has struggled with staying healthy.  He has had many tests performed on him, which has caused a lot of anxiety, especially for a child with a sensory processing disorder.  He was diagnosed with an immune deficiency at age 3, which he has received monthly IV treatments for since. His parents are currently hoping his immune system has gotten the boost it needs and are working on keeping him off monthly treatments.  He also has factor VII and X bleeding disorders, which is mild hemophilia.

At this point Vincie receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy weekly.  He is learning to use a communication device to help him say what he thinks and feels. Vincie does not do much independently without direct supervision from us or his brothers. Vince loves to be a part of many social situations, however, with his delays it is difficult for him to assimilate at times.

A service dog was a wish to help bridge many social limitations Vincie experiences on a daily basis through positive interaction with people curious to meet him and his K9.  Also, and almost as important as any one thing, a service dog would provide a great sense of calm for Vincie during times of anxiety or limitation. Taking care of a service dog would also give him a sense of independence, responsibility, and leadership.  Vincie, has experience with a service dog.  He had a very strong relationship with his dad’s police service dog Timo, a Dutch Shepherd from Holland.  Unfortunately, Timo passed away December of 2012.  Vincie and Timo were incredible buddies and their bond was an amazing experience to watch for our whole family. Vincie is ready and excited to have his own Service Dog !!

 

Thanks To You Vincie’s Wish Came True in 2014! Vincie & Harper, Friends Forever

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Stay Tuned Next Week For Another Story Of Thanks…

WOW! THANK YOU! Total Raised: $10,297.28!

THANK YOU! Mission Accomplished! Total Raised: $10,297.28 Click to Continue to Give in Vincie's Name!

THANK YOU!
Mission Accomplished!
Total Raised: $10,297.28
Click to Continue to Give in Vincie’s Name!

Click Here To Make A Gift Online In Vincie’s name!

You can also mail a check to:

WAGS 4 Kids

112 East Center Street

Berea, OH 44017

Please make a memo note that your donation is for Vincie

 

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Our Thankful Thanksgiving – “Shane And Huey”

WAGS 4 Kids in Need, Meet Shane

Working Animals Giving Service for Kids in Need – Meet Shane!

Our Thankful Thanksgiving Ed. 1 – November 5, 2014
Shane and his family first came to W.A.G.S. in 2013 as an amazing little six-year-old born with CHARGE Syndrome, a genetic anomaly affecting approximately one in 12,000 births. In Shane’s case, he was born with a major heart defect requiring multiple medical procedures including two open-heart operations and the installation of a pacemaker. Shane is extremely nearsighted and has colobama which greatly limits his field of vision. He is also profoundly deaf in one ear and moderately deaf in the other. Shane was born with only one functioning kidney. He also has very low muscle tone, which contributes to mobility challenges.

 

Shane and Huey

Shane and his W.A.G.S. 4 Kids service dog Huey meet for the first time.

Despite these challenges, Shane continues to be a courageous and curious little boy who loves to explore the world around him cautiously. He has surprised many of his care providers with his progress and recently had his tracheotomy removed, allowing him to begin vocalizing more, although he struggles with language and expression. While Shane has taken a few steps on his own, he is extremely reluctant to do so. His hearing and vision issues make it difficult for him to navigate without support and a reassuring hand.

 

Shane and Huey Meet

Shane and his W.A.G.S. 4 Kids service dog Huey meet for the first time.

Shane’s family were hoping that a service dog would help Shane develop more confidence and learn about his surroundings, and bridge the gap between his special spirit and everyone he meets. “To give my son another form of interaction and comfort. To help him walk independently. To help in his relationships with peers and other people.” said mom, Katherine.

For 18 months, Huey was trained at North Central Correctional Complex in Marion, Ohio by a team of 12 inmates certified as animal trainers and working with the W.A.G.S. Staff Trainers to meet the high standards set by the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Accredited Cell Dog Training Program. This is the MTC Cell Dog training program as accredited by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. After 6 months with his forever family, well…a picture is worth a thousand words right?

Shane and Huey Meet

Shane and his W.A.G.S. 4 Kids service dog Huey meet for the first time.

Shane and Huey Meet

Shane and his W.A.G.S. 4 Kids service dog Huey meet for the first time. And it’s Love At First Sight….

“Shane really likes his dog and Huey has completed our family. We are currently working with Shane to walk with Huey to the bus in the morning. Huey is doing great and Shane smiles every time.” Mom, Katherine adds  “I have recommended WAGS to many people! Huey gets a lot of attention when we are out so we frequently speak about the program and how satisfied we are with Huey and WAGS.”

 

And Then They Lived Happily Ever After….

Thank You To Friends, Family, Sponsors and Community Members ! We Shane & his Family had a mission of  $8,000 in Family Fundraising for Shane’s Service Dog. Because of YOU we have come THIS FAR! High 5! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

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Check Back Next Week For Another “Thankful Thanksgiving”…

You Can Make A Change In One Life Today. Click Here to make a donation in Shane’s Name!

Donate Online Now

Donate Online Now!

You can also mail a check to:

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

112 E. Center Street

Berea, OH 44017

Please make a memo note that your donation is for Shane

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