Meet Zachary Robert Coger! Zachary is in need of a Mobility Assistance Dog. We are so excited and honored to be chosen by 4 Paws for Ability to begin our journey to provide Zach with the best possible tools we can to succeed in life!
Zachary is our miracle baby. Born at 27 weeks gestation, he spent his first three months in the NICU. The likelihood of his survival was 50%. Suffering two strokes and multiple illnesses, Zach pulled through and is a strong, resilient 11-year-old boy who wishes to be “like everyone else.” Due to his extreme prematurity, Zach lives with medically intractable epilepsy, spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, anxiety disorder, optic nerve atrophy, along with an additional list of developmental disorders. Zach must take multiple medications throughout the day and has a VNS implant to help regulate his seizure activity. He uses a wheelchair and is hopeful to be able to walk with the assistance of a walker in time.
Zachary is not defined by these disorders. He is a very active boy who enjoys attending school, playing wheelchair basketball, participating in Boy Scouts activities and interacting with his older siblings. Most recently Zach has encountered some challenges in his behaviors and anxiety as he begins to negotiate life as a pre-teen.
Based on the determinations from his medical team, and information from other families facing similar challenges, we were introduced to 4 Paws for Ability. Zach’s medical team feels a service dog would be beneficial to assist him with some of his life challenges. We have completed the application process with 4 Paws for Ability, which included medical recommendations, referrals, and an interview session. Zach was approved for the program and now our family has begun to raise the $17,000 for 4 Paws for Ability.
Training a service dog to meet the specific requirements is very costly. On average between $40,000-60,000 is necessary to raise, train, and place a service dog at 4 Paws for Ability. Although we have been accepted into the program, Zachary cannot attend a training class until the $17,000 is raised. We are fundraising to help cover the fee required to provide him with a life-changing service dog. We are hoping to have the support of our community and others to receive assistance and make this life changing addition for Zachary.
Zachary’s service dog will provide a sense of safety, comfort, and independence, greatly improving his quality of life. This dog will help him to interrupt an escalation or meltdown with his behavior, detect anxiety, provide stability in ambulation, and assist in everyday tasks to allow him some independence from parents and caregivers. Some of those everyday tasks are mobility tasks such as: stand/brace, retrieval, and pushing the handicapped door button. In addition, this dog will provide Zach with a catalyst in the community to allow him to interact with peers and others and a non-judgmental, 24/7 friend who will love him unconditionally, the “forever friend.” We believe this will help Zach become more independent and successful in life.
Thank you for your time and interest in Zachary. We are asking for help to provide this service dog as we strive to provide Zachary with the tools necessary for daily safety and improved quality of life. Many families have assured us that the addition of this specialized service animal into the life of Zachary will not only change the quality of life for Zach, but also for the entire family. Please join us in making this a reality!
Please visit the 4 Paws for Ability website to see the amazing changes that service dogs have provided to children just like Zach!
Donations in support of Zachary should be made directly to 4 Paws for Ability – be sure to write Zachary’s name on the memo line. Mail checks to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Zachary Coger
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio, 45385.
If you wish to make an online donation, the website is http://4pawsforability.org/donate-now/ Include Zachary’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. You may also call to make a credit card donation over the phone at (937) 374-0385 – Monday through Friday 9 AM to 4 PM EST.