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Friday, October 24, 2014

Grace Bradford of Coudersport now has a Service Dog

Grace Bradford of Coudersport now has a Service Dog

Grace Bradford & Kingston
It’s not very often that adding a 2 year old to your household makes daily life easier, but for Paul, Mollie, Lily, Grace and Dana Bradford of Coudersport, that’s exactly the case.

After 4 years of fundraising and waiting, the Bradford family has welcomed Kingston, a 2 year old black Labrador Retriever into their home to serve their 12 year old Autistic daughter Grace.

Grace was diagnosed with autism when she was 4. This fall, Grace will be entering seventh grade at Coudersport Jr and Sr High School. Grace has two sisters, Lily and Dana.

According to Mollie, her daughter’s autism leads to disruptive behavior. Due to Grace’s emotional meltdowns, routine errands such as grocery shopping with their daughter were nearly impossible — until now.
The family worked with the nonprofit organization Susquehanna Service Dogs , which is based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The fee to get a trained service dog from the organization was $5,000, which the family raised from different scholarships, a yard sale, and donations. It costs SSD between $20,000 and $25,000 to raise, and train each puppy into a full-fledged Service Dog. Most of the difference is paid for by different fundraisers and corporate donations to SSD and its parent agency, Keystone Human Services.

On October 5th, Grace and her mom traveled to Harrisburg to meet Kingston and train with him for two and a half weeks. Kingston is 24 months old and has been trained as an service dog since he was a puppy.

According to Mollie, Kingston has learned to track Grace if she wanders off and knows how to comfort her if her mood becomes elevated.

On October 22nd Grace and Kingston passed the service dog public access test and they now return to Coudersport as a Service Dog Team. They will be partners. Kingston will be an extension of Grace.

The Bradford’s have already seen a difference in Grace’s demeanor and behavior after the 1st week of training.

While in public places, Grace leads Kingston on a “loose leash” and has a comfort trainer over his nose that helps him focus. The comfort trainer is not a muzzle, and Kingston can eat and do typical things with it on.

“Grace loves him, and he loves her,” Mollie said. “They sleep in the same bed.”
“It’s been life-changing,” she said.

As for Susquehanna Service Dogs, the Bradfords said the organization has been with the family every step of the way. She said the organization has offered to provide additional training or refresher courses for Kingston if needed. SSD trains service dogs for all different types of disabilities whether visible or invisible.


Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to Grace. This is such a great thing! Thank God for dogs like Kingston and the people who train them! This is awesome!!

Anonymous said...

That sounds wonderful God has blessed you all.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful, I have seen those service dogs in actions with persons such as the young lady in the story, the change those dogs can make to that person is amazing and can be a total change in that person life !! What a wonderful event for both her and the service dog, I wish you both great things !!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful on so many levels!!! I'm so excited for you all, especially Grace!! What a blessing!! God bless you all!!

Cynthia Woodard said...

I spoke with Grace on Friday in school and she was truly excited to tell me about Kingston. I cannot wait to me this very special new member of our student body.