Lending Logan a Helping Paw

For: Logan Kirk Service Animal Fund
Organizer: Misty Christo or Stan and Melanie Kirk
$8,828
of $7,700 goal.
Raised by 87 donors
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Logan is such an amazing little boy. He has been so sick all of his life. He was born at just 28 weeks and spent 101 days in the neonatal intensive care unit before coming home to us. Since then he has had to endure more surgeries and tests and hospitalizations than any person should have to in an entire lifetime. He received his diagnosis at the age of 3 from a rare lung disease specialist in Cincinnati. His condition is called Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease (chILD) and that title is actually an umbrella term for a group of fifty or so rare lung diseases affecting children. Logan does not have one of the fifty identified conditions, though, and his doctors and specialists have simply told us that "Logan is an enigma." We don't know what the long term outlook is for Logan.

Logan's lungs are very susceptible to infection. He misses about 60 days of school each year because a simple cold has progressed to pneumonia. Because of his oxygen, he is always "tethered" to someone or something. We thought we had found some freedom for him when we started using liquid oxygen that would fit in a backpack for him to carry. It was the first time he could ever go down the slide on the playground by himself. Now, however, we are seeing that it is causing major problems with his back and he is having to use a wheelchair more often at school because he becomes exhausted so easily. Despite all of this, Logan is the happiest, most imaginative and loving little boy imaginable. 

We have been put in connection with a local trainer, Russ Dillon, who specializes in training dogs to alert individuals with diabetes to dangerous drops in blood sugar. Russ previously trained bomb sniffing dogs in the Marines. He is willing to take on the challenge of training a dog specifically for Logan. Russ will be training the dog to not only stay by Logan's side while carrying Logan's oxygen tanks, but he will also be teaching the dog to recognize when Logan is having problems with his oxygen and the dog will help pull Logan's wheelchair when Logan uses it. 

Russ met with our family in early October at the Nebraska Humane Society, where they had been keeping an eye out for a dog that would be a suitable candidate for this important job. They found a really amazing chocolate lab who came in as a stray, but who is smart, strong and eager to learn. Logan loves him and has decided that the dog should be called "Vernon." 

Russ took Vernon back to his facility and is going to be working with him over the next few months to train him up so that he is ready to be by Logan's side every day as a mobile oxygen tank with a wagging tail. 

We are all so excited for Logan and Vernon. Having Vernon with him will not only prevent further problems with Logan's back, but it will also mean more freedom for Logan to just be a kid. For us it will mean that we can breathe a bit easier knowing that Vernon's trained ear and nose will be focused on Logan's breathing when we aren't with him. 

Thank you for your compassion and encouragment for our amazing little boy. All donations will go directly to the cost of obtaining and training Vernon for Logan. 

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 16, 2013

Posted on November 16, 2013

Logan and Vernon got to see one another today! They both did really well. Vernon got to meet Sidney, our family dog, and they did fine together (Sidney is so easygoing, we weren't worried in the least). Vernon got to put on the vest and test out the weight of the tanks today. He was a bit distracted by all the new things and new people, so Russ does have some work ahead of him to complete Vernon's training. Vernon wasn't too sure about Logan giving him commands, but Logan was able to get him to sit on command for the camera. :-)
Logan LOVED the news reporter. He asked her about a million questions and answered some of her questions with typical Logan silliness. Hopefully they will be able to put together a good story with some of the clips they got. 
Stan refused to be interviewed on camera, so I was nominated by default. I'd much rather be on the other side of a news story, but I did my best. I'm still just a bit self conscious about my hair, although it has grown back enough to look more like I made the choice to cut it really short, rather than looking like it fell out. Ah, well, things we do for our kids. :-) 
The reporter said she thought it would be on the 10/11 news tonight either at 6 or 10. We'll get it recorded if I can figure out how. Otherwise, here is a link to the station website. When it is ready, they will post the story online as well: http://www.1011now.com 
Until then, I'm posting some fun photos of Logan and Vernon and the news interview. 

Posted on November 16, 2013

Posted on November 16, 2013

Logan and Vernon got to see one another today! They both did really well. Vernon got to meet Sidney, our family dog, and they did fine together (Sidney is so easygoing, we weren't worried in the least). Vernon got to put on the vest and test out the weight of the tanks today. He was a bit distracted by all the new things and new people, so Russ does have some work ahead of him to complete Vernon's training. Vernon wasn't too sure about Logan giving him commands, but Logan was able to get him to sit on command for the camera. :-)
Logan LOVED the news reporter. He asked her about a million questions and answered some of her questions with typical Logan silliness. Hopefully they will be able to put together a good story with some of the clips they got. 
Stan refused to be interviewed on camera, so I was nominated by default. I'd much rather be on the other side of a news story, but I did my best. I'm still just a bit self conscious about my hair, although it has grown back enough to look more like I made the choice to cut it really short, rather than looking like it fell out. Ah, well, things we do for our kids. :-) 
The reporter said she thought it would be on the 10/11 news tonight either at 6 or 10. We'll get it recorded if I can figure out how. Otherwise, here is a link to the station website. When it is ready, they will post the story online as well: http://www.1011now.com 
Until then, I'm posting some fun photos of Logan and Vernon and the news interview. 

Posted on November 15, 2013

Posted on November 15, 2013

We did it!!! Thank you so much to everyone who helped us to reach our goal. We now have Vernon's harness and it is set up for carrying Logan's tanks. Tomorrow (Saturday) morning, we will be meeting Vernon and Russ at the park so that we can see how his progress is going and let Vernon and Logan spend some time together. We will make sure to post pictures.
Joining us tomorrow will be a news crew from 10/11 news who heard about Vernon and Logan and were as excited as we are about this special project. :-)
What happens now: Vernon still has some schooling to complete with Russ before he will be ready to join Logan. Russ will keep working with Vernon to teach him all he will need to know to do the job. Any funds that come in to support Vernon and Logan beyond the cost of Vernon's training will go to ongoing costs of keeping a large working dog (vet bills, food, treats, equipment, etc.). 
Thank you, again, so much, for all your help and support. We are so excited to have Vernon join our family and fulfill this very important role in Logan's life. 
Love from the Kirks

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