A service dog is usually 12 months old when it goes into formal training. From that age, they are trained for 11 months to be an autism assistance dog. As a family (with a LOT of help and generosity), we raised the required $13,000 on behalf of 4 Paws for Ability, Inc. Their web site is www.4pawsforability.org. It costs them $22,000 to fully train each service dog. They do their own fundraising to make up the difference.
We had to fill out a lot of paperwork and send in video of Alec, so the trainers can better understand Alec's needs. More about our fundraising process and story can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/alec4paws/
For 2 weeks in April, we will be in Xenia, Ohio at the 4 Paws facility. We will train with Alec and his dog, learning all the commands that can be used, as well as what the dog is capable of doing. A great overview of Autism Assistance service dogs can be found here: http://4pawsforability.org/autism-assistance-dog/
As we begin this journey, I (Christina, AKA "Mom") will be blogging our photos and experiences to share :)