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Meet James! Through Together Rising, you helped James’ mom, Jessica, reserve a service dog that will help meet her son’s daily needs, including safety, comfort, and mobility.

James is a nine-year-old dog lover who lives in the western part of the United States. At fifteen months old, he was diagnosed with partial agenesis of the corpus callosum. James is non-verbal and needs support with his emotions. His walking is also impacted by his condition.

We met James through his mom’s former teacher, Elizabeth. When Elizabeth wrote to us, she shared the philosophy she held through the six years she taught high school students, including Jessica.

In Elizabeth’s words: “I always made sure my kids knew that I was on their team not for just one year, but forever—they could always call on me for help or support.”

Last year, Jessica began the years-long process of reserving a service dog for James. Given the time and resources their extensive training requires, service dogs are extremely expensive. Still, even after finding one of the more affordable options, the cost that Jessica would have to cover on her own was exorbitant. It felt insurmountable.

In need of support, Jessica reached out to Elizabeth, just as Elizabeth had encouraged her to do all those years ago when she was her teacher. That’s when Elizabeth wrote to us.

“[James] has a smile that will melt your heart,” she shared.

Together Rising exists to step into gaps for families and children like James. In October, we sent James and Jessica a direct grant to cover the remaining amount needed.

In an update from Jessica, she shared that because of your support, she has reserved a service dog for James!

She and James have been assigned to a class of other families who are also waiting for service dogs. They will bring the dog home sometime in 2024.

James’ service dog will be trained to meet his specific, daily needs, including mobility. In addition to being a source of comfort for James, his dog will also help keep him safe.

We are excited to see James and his new four-legged companion be united in a few years. In the meantime, we want to thank you for stepping into this gap for Jessica and James.