A Service Dog For Mattie

Campaign Created by: Kristin Miazga

The funds from this campaign will be received by Kristin Miazga.

Goal: USD $13,000
Raised: USD $ 4,950

We love our Mattie! If you know Mattie, you know that she loves to run, jump and be a crazy goofball. Mattie was born early and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2. She has worked so hard to overcome the challenges that life has thrown her way and she does it with a smile on her face! Shortly after her diagnosis, Mattie was diagnosed with Von Willebrand Disease, a bleeding disorder, which results in a lot of bruising when she falls (not a great combo). We discovered in 2020 that Mattie had a tumor that was tethering her lower spine, tethered cord syndrome. Our brave girl underwent surgery to remove the tumor and de-tether her spinal cord. She has recovered with such grace and joy. Mattie is now a part time wheel chair user, sparkly pink of course! As she gets older and grows, she experiences balance issues, strength and pain issues, mostly in her legs. 

We started to look into the possibility of a service dog for Mattie to assist her with her balance issues as well as emotional and sensory needs as she grows. We have been blessed by a wonderful breeder, who felt the Lord moving her to bless us with a puppy! We are so thankful for her and for the Lord moving in such a way! The puppy will be ready to come home on 3/18 and at 5 months, she will begin training to be Mattie’s service dog. We are trying to raise funds for the costs involved with preparing for this blessing and also her training. We have a wonderful trainer, K9 Companions Nashville, who are amazing and experienced in training service dogs. 

We will be doing a bake and art sale as well in the future once Mattie has recovered from her latest surgery. If anyone feels moved to help us with this, we would be so grateful. If you are unable to help financially, we would love your support through prayer and encouragement! 

UPDATES

It’s Bear’s birthday!!
January 20, 2024
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Today is Bear’s first birthday! We are love him so much! He has done A LOT of growing and is now over 70lbs!! We will be starting our level 2 training soon after he is neutered and healed up. His favorite toys are stuffies, although they don’t last very long. He also loves a good hoof to chew on and will bring it to you to “share”. We recently had a big snow storm and Bear taught himself to pull Mattie on her sled. He’s such a good boy! 

Training Day and Mattie Turned 8!
October 17, 2023
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Bear had a great refresher session at the training center last week! We are working hard to maintain what he learned over the summer. He knew where he was and what was expected of him and we learned what we can be tweaking as we work with him to achieve a better result. He is still very much a big 9 month old puppy and has entered the stage of teenager status. He has a lot of opinions of how things should go, ha! Pray we stay strong and consistent to keep him on task as he matures. 

  Mattie turned 8 years old yesterday!! She said it was the best day ever! Yay! It is such a blessing to see her grow and take in the world the way she does. These next couple of months are shaping out to be full of appointments and hopefully some answers as the spinal tether may have returned and we may need to go out of state to consult with a specialist. We are just taking one day at a time! 

We would love to have Bear’s next level secured for her birthday! What an amazing gift. She and Bear are the best of friends! 

A Beary Hairy Update
October 11, 2023
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It’s been quite a bit since we have updated. Life has been crazy! Bear had an amazing 3 weeks at training in July. He learned his first level of basic commands and we have been working with him at home. He has grown so much and just weighed in at 70lbs! We will be traveling to our training center this week for another training session. We will be reserving Bear’s next training stay soon. This will be level 2, which starts official service dog tasks. This will likely be scheduled for January or February, as we are waiting for him to mature and be able to do weight bearing tasks. You may not see him out and about during this time while we wait. He is busy growing and keeping up with his current training. We were reminded by our trainer that this is a 2 year process. He is still very much a 8 month old puppy! We will be updating more often and sharing our journey as we ramp up training. Please continue to pray for our journey and consider giving if you can. We will need our deposit for his second level of training soon. We so appreciate everyone’s support! Please also keep Mattie in your prayers. She has recently been experiencing quite a bit of back pain and leg weakness. She has been relying on her wheelchair more and more. 

The long awaited update!! He's here!!
May 10, 2023
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I have been meaning to post an update for awhile, but we have had our hands full with our new best friend and lots of doctor's appointments. Here's what we have been up to:

Bear came home with us on 3/18 and it was love at first sight! He came along with all the puppy things. I have to say, it truly is like having another baby in the house! Bear has been such a good boy. He came already knowing to use his litter box because of our AMAZING breeder. She and our trainer have been so helpful in guiding us through the world of puppies. We are now working on potty training outside and he's a champ! Bear is incredibly smart and we have been working on some of his basic commands. He definitely has "sit" down and he looks so handsome when he sits and gives you those puppy eyes! He comes along in the car for pick up and drop off from school and loves all the attention. He has accompanied us to softball practice and even Wednesday night church at Grove Hill Church (you should come too... 6:30pm, every Wednesday!). Bear's favorite toys are bullysticks and his moose friend. He loves to be at everyone's feet. 

Mattie has had a whole bunch of doctors appointments over the last month. She has been relying on her wheelchair more and more and falling as well. We have always encouraged Mattie to live without limits and we will continue to do so. She had an appointment with her neurosurgeon and we may be heading towards another spinal surgery in the future, but will be consulting with a specialist in Boston for a second opinion before moving forward. In the mean time, Mattie was seen in the Mobility Impairment Clinic at Vanderbilt and has been casted for new leg braces to help support her and hopefully reduce some of her falls. Please continue to pray as we have several more appointments coming up as we move toward the end of the school year. Come on summer!!

We have been able to fully fund Bear's first level of training and are starting to make deposits for his second, which will be reserved soon after he finishes that first round in July. Each level is a 3 week program where he is boarded at the training facility. He checks in on July 6th. We just want to thank you all for your support and prayers through this journey. We could not have come this far without each and every one of you!

2 weeks til our little buddy comes home!
March 6, 2023
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He’s getting fluffier!! Our sweet breeder sent new pictures this week. Holy fluff! We will be bringing Mattie’s new best bud home in just 2 short weeks! There’s a lot of prep work to do, but I wanted to thank you all that have given so far. We are able to make the first deposit and reserve his spot for basic training! We will be visiting the training facility next week and officially enrolling. You may have noticed that some of the pricing information has been redacted. We have changed that out of respect for our trainer, who would like to keep exact costs private. She’s been amazing and answering all of my many questions as we prepare. Please pray for Mattie as she will be undergoing an MRI in April. Her neurosurgeon feels that she may require another spinal surgery due to a re-tether of her spinal cord. Thank you all again! I am just speechless by the support y’all have given us. 

First Goal
February 10, 2023
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Our initial goal is to reach the halfway mark for the first level of training. We need half of that to get registered and get started as they book 6 months out. Thank you so much to everyone who has given so far. 

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