Conor has a very BIG story for just being a mere 6 years old! We have wanted to get him a service dog for the past two years, but just didn't know how our family could take on such a huge fundraiser at the time! We found out on Easter Sunday just how close we could come to losing him. He escaped from our home, and was able to get far enough away that he ran onto a highway, and was few feet from getting hit by a car. It was terrifying, and traumatic, but it made us realize that our family will do absolutely ANYTHING to keep him safe!! SDWR trains their Autism Service Dogs to help prevent instances like that happening. A service dog can make all of the difference for not only Conor, but our family as well. In the event that he was lost the dog will be trained to track him as well. This service dog will give our family and Conor the freedom to play even in our front yard without the fear of Conor bolting into the road. When Conor has times he is overwhelmed by his surroundings or his nervous system is on overload the dog will be trained to sense that and will help calm him. The dog is also trained to redirect Conor's attention when he is frustrated and wants to harm himself. The list is abundant what this dog will do for Conor and our family! If you are moved by his story and have it in your heart to give, then we would be so grateful for any donation!! Join us for this very exciting Journey!!
Conor's story is below!!
I’ll start from the beginning………
After a very emotional and uncertain pregnancy in October 2009, at 33weeks into the pregnancy, Conor Mahan Daily was born weighing 2lbs 6oz. He was tiny, but he had red wavy hair, and bushy red eye brows. 42 days of hospital later, Conor weighing in at a whopping 4lbs 1oz, was discharged to go home. We earned every ounce of that 4lbs over the course of those 6 weeks, and couldn’t be happier to have our baby boy all to ourselves. Life seemed pretty normal for a good long while, and that was fantastic. Conor was such a sweet baby, full of personality and energy. He loved looking at himself in the mirror, playing peekaboo, chasing our dogs, and when we were somewhere like Walmart if someone ignored him he’d holler across the store to get their attention.
We had our daughter, Kasyn in 2010, and Conor turned ONE in October. After his 1st birthday though, things started to change and not all at once. It was very gradual and subtle changes. Looking back now I realize the milestones were not being met like you’d expect. We blamed most of it on the delays due to his prematurity, and were just happy he was healthy and safe. At a standard 18 months check-up the nurse asked us some questions:
-Does he say 10 or more words?
-Does he play appropriately with toys?
-Does he interact with other children?
-Does he point at things he sees?
-Does he try to get your attention to show you something?
-Does he make good eye contact?
It had never entered my mind that something could be wrong with Conor. He was happy, healthy, and had already been through so much. He was fine. Wasn’t he? I realized with those 6 simple questions that my son, in fact, had Autism. The doctor, nurse, our family, my husband, and everybody else I talked to told me not to worry, and that he was just a little behind. Deep down I always knew what it was. AUTISM. I would wake up at all hours of the night scouring the internet to prove myself wrong, but I knew. I pictured my sweet little boy sitting in a corner, screaming, throwing things, rocking back and forth, banging his head, and violently thrashing himself on the floor. It absolutely terrified me! Not only that, but did that mean he would never say Mom, Dad, I Love you? Ever go to college, get married, have children, or even have a future? What did all of this mean for him?
After discussing my concerns a few times with the pediatrician, Conor was evaluated for early intervention therapy. Since he wasn’t speaking, walking, completely oblivious to his surroundings and so many other things he of course was approved for OT, PT, Speech, and developmental therapy. Through all of that therapy we found out a lot of things about our son. He had pretty severe sensory processing issues that needed immediate attention. There were many behaviors and habits he had that made absolutely no sense to us at the time until we started seeing our OT. For instance, he would cry for no apparent reason, he walked on his toes, he fixated on certain toys, he would just stare and arrange them for hours, he never stopped running, he would throw himself into the couch, walls, and bed, and he would wake up at all hours of the night with night terrors. I actually asked my husband if he thought our house might be haunted because I had no idea what was going on with him. All of it was because his nervous system was on OVERLOAD. Sensory issues can be common in premature babies because of all the poking, prodding, and procedures they endure at such an early, raw stage in their lives. We put him on sensory diet, and started some other interventions that helped him such as Listening Therapy, Hippotherapy, and a Gluten Free diet.
On March 30th, 2011 Conor was officially diagnosed with Autism.
Autism is not what I thought it was going to be, and all of the stereotypes that I was so afraid of, I found out later, are not as common as you’d think. Conor never had violent behaviors, and is actually extremely sweet and loving. Most of his crying was either because of his sensory issues or the fact that he gets frustrated because he can’t communicate what he wants. A service dog will help alleviate that anxiety, and soothe the sensory overload. It has now been over 5 years since Conor was diagnosed, he is 6 years old. He has changed so much in those 5 years, but we are by no means done with his improvements!!! An Autism Service Dog could open him up to an entirely new realm of his world, while giving our family more peace of mind with his safety. Autism is hard work because Conor sees things so differently than a typical child, but it was probably was one of the best things that ever happened to us. It opened our eyes to a community that we were “aware” of, but truly had no idea what it was about. SDWR was one of those things we had no idea about, but we are thrilled to be working with them! SDWR has so many videos, and information that shows the benefits of having a service dog are abundant. I can't even begin to tell you how excited we are about this journey, and what a blessing this dog will be to us!!
Please join us for this amazing journey, and as SDWR says" UNTIL THE PUZZLE IS SOLVED, THERE'S A DOG"
About The SDWR Cause:
Until There’s A Cure...There’s A Dog is the SDWR motto. With hundred of lives changed and over decade of dedicated work, SDWR is a leader service dog organization. We believe that through our uniquely trained service dogs, the lives of those with invisible disabilities can be improved. At SDWR, our service dogs include Diabetic Alert Dogs, Autism Service Dogs, Seizure Response Dogs, and PTSD Service Dogs. Each type of service dog is hand raised by SDWR staff and volunteers to mold it into a life-saving tool for each of our families in need. We promote a high level of interaction between the dog, the recipient family and our training staff to create an environment of success. Unlike other service dog programs, SDWR takes the next step in providing a solid base between a service dog and the recipient.
Your donation goes to the placement and growth of more life-saving service dogs.
SDWR is a fully incorporated 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible Our program gives those with an invisible illness a chance at their own service dog. As a non-profit, we offset the costs of investing in an assistant dog. We believe no one should have to pay for a service dog. Through fundraising opportunities and our donors, we work to make service dogs for the disabled a reality. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers helps families find local resources to help offset the costs associated with the training of a service dog. All donations go to the placement of service dogs and the needs of our mission.
Join Us Online and Find Out More By Visiting:
Our Website: www.sdwr.org
Follow Our Puppy Raisers Online:www.facebook.com/SDWRPuppyRaisers
Click the icons below to visit our main social media pages: