WOW, I can’t believe it is time to start counting down until August 2nd when we begin Caden’s service dog training class: even more amazing to me is the journey and everyone we’ve met along the way to get to this point. As we count down the next 2 months, I’m going to tell you all about that journey. But before we start that, I should probably introduce who the “we” is.
I’m Jennifer, although it’s been a while since I’ve been called by that name. I seem to be better known as Ryley and Caden’s mom. That tide may be turning though as Ryley finishes up 5th grade and seems to be doing everything she can to disown me as her mother (it seems that everything I do is embarrassing…wow, am I really that old) and Caden’s classmates are absolutely intrigued that I have a name—a “real” name. My husband Dan is either “Dad, don’t you dare” or “daddy I help you.” Ryley is our 10 year old daughter and Caden is our 4 year old son. We have 2 dogs: a beagle named Maizy who has separation anxiety that doesn’t stop her from trying to run away every opportunity she gets and a border collie mix named Nikki who wouldn’t run away if we left all the gates open---trust me, we’ve tried (We love both dogs but as most soon learn after spending a little time with the dogs, they aren’t the smartest dogs around…..anywhere) and 6 cats: Kota (after South Dakota since she was rescued on a Native American reservation), Rascal, Cinder (he was found on a cinder road—aren’t we creative), Belle (my daughter was once a Disney Princess fan), Kola, and Camry.
Dan and I are just your average all-American working parents who happen to have two children with fairly rare primary immune deficiencies. We spend a lot of time with-ologists, in hospitals, and surgery centers. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, Caden was diagnosed with autism in December of 2008. Our goal is to do everything we can to give both of our kids the chance to just be kids. This blog is about our successes and failures as we work every day to achieve that goal. Caden’s autism service dog is just one piece in the puzzle but it’s a big piece and it’s a piece that a lot of people helped us obtain. This blog is devoted to everyone who helped us reach our fundraising goal of $13,000 and every parent who is fighting the fight on the behalf of their child with autism or any other condition. This is our story—Some days the stories are adorable, some days they are horrific, but it is all just a part of Caden’s tale!