Iowa family hoping to get service dog for daughter with autism, - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa family hoping to get service dog for daughter with autism, epilepsy

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

They say dog is man's best friend.

But an eastern Iowa family says a service dog could become more than just a friend to their daughter.

It could help her grow and even save her life.

Cedar Rapids 5-year-old Claire Neuenschwander is like any other excited, curious, growing young girl. 

But her family says she struggles with autism, epilepsy, and with some other medical issues.

She needs a feeding tube to eat, and things like getting dressed or going to the grocery store aren't always easy. 

That is why her family is trying to get a service dog. 

After doing some research, the family has decided to work with Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers in Virginia. 

They say the dog would be with Claire all the time, helping detect seizures, and helping her with socialization and safety. 

Claire's family is trying to raise $25,000 for the service dog. They've raised around $5,000 so far. 

If you would like to donate, click here.

Here is some of what it says on the donation page about how the dog will help Claire: 

We are moving forward in getting Claire an Autism service dog to help her with life and being able to function independently in life. Claire is so excited to start this journey of getting an Autism Service Dog to help her in becoming more independent in life and be able to function successfully. Claire will be able to become more independent in life and be able to function successfully. The dog will help her with sleeping through the night and staying asleep, and it will help her with eating.  She can go into the community like the grocery store, other stores, church, restaurants, and museums and be able to stay in control and calm and not get overwhelmed or frustrated. The service dog will help to keep Claire safe if she starts to get into danger.  Claire's dog will be able to help her learn how to play with other kids her age and be able to interact and engage and be able to communicate well with those around her to help in meeting her needs. The service dog will help Claire stay calm when she is confused or frustrated and be able to focus better on what she is doing and accomplish that goal. The service dog will go to school with Claire, help her to be active with friends, be involved in group activities and not be overwhelmed or overloaded. Claire's service dog will help her be able to go to events in the community that have lots of people and loud noises where the dog will help keep her calm so she can have fun and enjoy being like any other kid in the community.

Claire's dad says, "Autism is not something to be alarmed about, but something we shouldn't ignore as parents, teachers, or employers. It just makes us function and see the world in ways words cannot explain. There's nothing we can do about autism. Once we have it, we have it for life. The best therapy for autism is to go out and socialize with friends." 

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