LEECHBURG (KDKA) – A local couple is looking for a way to pay for a service dog that could change their son’s life.
The Snedeor family is a unique one. Parents Cassie and Matt have an 8-year-old son Jack, who is severely autistic.
Jack is non-verbal and also suffers from PICA, which means he compulsively eats things that you can’t eat. When KDKA visited the Snedeor family, Jack tried to eat rocks and a flower.
“We are so sad he has to struggle in his daily life,” said mother Cassie.
Jack runs toward water, unlocks and runs out of the front door, he’s eaten cat food, tried to drink laundry detergent and has even wiped it in his eyes.
“With autism you find out things are different and you have to learn to deal with it,” said father Matt Snedeor. “You try to help the kid the best you can. It can be challenging for sure.”
The Snedeors found new hope for a better life for Jack with a dog – and English Labrador. The dog could be used as a service dog.
The 12 to 18-month training will give Jack a dog that grabs foreign objects from his hands, keeps him from running into traffic or into a lake and will find him if he runs away –keep him alive.
“First and foremost it’s safety,” Cassie Snedeor said. “It could change a life. It could change his life.”
Matt is a school teacher, Cassie is a stay at home mom and takes care of Jack and two other boys. The fact is, a trained service dog like Jack needs is expensive.
“He would probably be upwards of $20,000,” Cassie Snedeor said.
For a dog like Jack needs, it’s closer to $23,000.
“We don’t have that kind of cash to put out there,” Cassie Snedeor said.
Jack and Cassie got on it, creating a touching video about Jack. They also have a Facebook page and a GoFundMe site. Close family friends reached out to KDKA’s Marty Griffin.
On last check, the GoFundMe site had a few thousand dollars from its goal. The family, close to a dream of a better life for Jack, will not stop there.
“We’d like to pay it forward, help other families get their dogs too,” Cassie Snedeor said.
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