MARYVILLE (WATE) – A Maryville couple is trying to raise enough money to get a service dog for their son who has special needs. Blake Pass, 4, has autism and epilepsy. His parents think a four-legged best friend could help improve his life.
Just like any other young child, Blake enjoys playing with toys, but his parents have to constantly watch their son’s every move.
“He can’t be left alone. During the day somebody has to stay with him, even in the moments he has to go to the bathroom,” said dad Jeffrey Pass.
The Pass family has been approved for a trained service dog, but the price is costly. They are hoping to reach a goal of $25,000. Fundraising efforts in the last couple of months have been difficult though. Through online campaigns and T-shirt fundraisers, they’ve only raised a couple hundred dollars.
“Health insurance won’t pay for that need and it’s part of the struggle raising this money,” said Jeffrey Pass.
Blake has suffered from epilepsy for the past two years,
Pass adds, “His eyes roll back in his head, he’s shaking and everything. Not only does it scare us, it scares him.”
Just in the last couple of months, doctors have also diagnosed the four-year-old with autism.
“He won’t talk and engage at all. That’s heartbreaking too,” said Jeffrey Pass.
They’re hoping the calming presence of a service dog will help. Blake currently has to be strapped into a medical stroller if he goes on any outings, but if he had a service dog, his parents think he would be able to be more independent and feel safe.
“If he goes to run in the street, the dog would stop and he wouldn’t be able to go,” said Blake’s mother Megan Pass.
Their goal of $25,000 would cover the amount of the dog and lifetime training, to adjust to Blake’s needs.
“When Blake has one of his falling spells, the dog can actually get behind him to protect his fall. The dog will be trained to lay with him,” added Jeffrey Pass.
A dog barking for help will alert Blake’s parents so they don’t have to depend on a sleep monitor every night when Blake goes to bed.
“He’s our baby, he’s precious,” said Jeffrey Pass.
The Pass family believes the best way to protect Blake, is a four legged best friend by his side.
How to help the pass family: