FAIRBORN — EllaMae Richmond worked since the summer months to raise awareness and funds for her son, Cruz Richmond, who was diagnosed with autism at 18-months-old, and was in need of a service dog.
After a benefit the family and their friends hosted earlier this month, the Richmonds had the $15,000 needed to obtain the animal. In an earlier interview, she said receiving the dog “would be a lifesaver,” as Cruz is a runner and knows no danger.
At this point, the Richmond’s are about a year and a half away from welcoming the service dog into their home. Within the next 15-to-18 months, the dog will undergo training, beginning with inmates and college students working to socializing the animal. Once this step is complete, the dog will go back with 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia to complete its training. The Richmonds will then participate in a two-week-long course regarding how to use the service dog, then the dog would be free to go.
In order for an animal to be officially considered a “service animal,” it must complete at least 500 professional training hours.
In Cruz’s case, the dog will utilize tethering, in addition to touch, pressure and snuggling techniques. It would also be trained in search-and-rescue reuniting.