Help Terminally Ill Child Get Service Dog Back From School District!

Help Terminally Ill Child Get Service Dog Back From School District!

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Amanda Scott Garretson started this petition to Representative Billy Long and

            Billy And Bear 2020!

     My son, Billy, has been training with his Service Dog since June 2019.   He was so excited knowing soon was the day Bear was coming to live him.  August 19, 2020 is when we were told that Bear was no longer Billy’s Service Dog.   The School that we had brought Bear to for training with Billy now had ownership of Bear.   Bear was completely removed as Billy’s service Dog and now he is the Spokane High Therapy dog.  Why?  “Billy has too many needs for Bear to be his Service Dog.  Together, they didn’t meet the standards to have Bear as a Service Dog.”    Billy has the same PROGRESSIVE disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, as when he was given Bear as his Service Dog.   

         In December of 2018, we first met Whitney Wilford, owner of Valiant K9 Training.  Billy and I were at Bass Pro going to visit Santa.  Billy had written a letter to Santa and he showed that letter to Whitney.  The letter said, 

     “Dear Santa, can I please have a Service Dog this year because I can’t walk  anymore.  Love, Billy.”

     In February 2019, Ms. Whitney Williford contacted me to notify me that she had selected My son, Billy, to be the recipient of a service dog trained by her.  So, we began the search for a service dog for BIlly.  We looked for a slightly older puppy hoping it would be ready to come home a little sooner as Billy’s disease progresses and his life expectancy was said to be as early as age 17.  Billy is now 15.  Whitney found the perfect pup a couple months later.  A little black lab specifically picked for Billy.  We called him Bear as Billy’s nickname is Billy Bear.  Now we had Billy and Bear.  Whitney was either receiving or in the process of receiving some kind of funding for training service dogs and it was to my understanding that this funding purchased Bear for Billy. 

       The plan was for Bear was to live with the trainer, Whitney, and meet with us regularly until he was fully trained.  After he was trained he would live with us.   Over the next year, we did just that.  We went and met Bear at all kinds of places to do different things for training.  We went to Restaurants, Parades, Fire Stations, Parks, etc.  Bear would come to the Hospital when Billy was sick and lay beside him in bed. Bear started training at Spokane High School with Billy starting around September/October2019. Bear went to Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Occupational Therapy with Billy.  A few things Bear was trained to do for Billy are retrieving items, opening doors, and Deep Pressure Therapy. DPT is when Bear will lay on Billy’s Lap to calm him down when he gets upset.  Training was going well when COVID 19 struck.  

         During the COVID pandemic we had very little contact with Bear. 

 As COVID was letting up, we called Whitney, on Speakerphone, with Billy sitting next to me to ask when we get to pick up training again.  This is when we was told that Bear wasn't Billys anymore. Bear was now the Spokane School Districts Therapy Dog.  Whitney never even talked to us about this and the School never talked to us about this.  Bear was taken away from Billy and we weren't even notified.   When I asked Whitney why, she said, “Billy’s needs are too great for bear to be his service Dog,  Bear and Billy didn’t meet “the standards.”   Maybe for an emotional support animal.  But not a service dog.”

       Sherry Aten, special education director, never mentioned Bear during this years IEP meeting for Billy until I asked.  It’s like they erased Bear from Billy’s life completely.  

      Billy is slowly losing his abilities, recently his vision too, he is losing the ability to hold his game controller, and now he has lost his only friend.   Because he is too disabled.   I don't know why the trainer and the school did this to him.  I do know that there isn't a benefit either of them could have possibly received that could even touch the benefits that Billy has and will receive from Bear.  

     Everything for Billy is hard and Bear has been Billy’s biggest reason to fight!   There is no treatment or cure for Billy’s disease and the hardest days are coming.  I can’t imagine what this will be like for Billy without Bear.   Bear is his Little bit of independence, his Hope, his Happy, his Everything.   

   Lets make the school give Bear back to Billy!!   #BillyandBear2020

 

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