Family raises money for service dog to help autistic son


LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A Leland family said they have received an overwhelming amount of support as they try to raise enough money  to get their autistic son a life companion.

Jessica Smith, a third grade teacher at Rachel Freeman Elementary and her husband Brandon, a Carolina Beach police officer, said their three-year-old son Bryce was diagnosed with Autism in September.

“We started having concerns when he was 14/15 months old and then we got the official diagnosis,” said Jessica.

Brandon said the costs to ensure Bryce reaches his full potential are high.

“At one point we were paying $1,500 dollars a month,” said Brandon.

And Smiths are taking Bryce’s care a step further by raising money for a service dog. The couple said a service dog could help Bryce calm down when he’s upset, keep him safe in public, and be a companion for him. The safety in public is a major concern for them because children with his type of autism can be impulsive and they have a tendency to wander.

“A companion, somebody to keep him safe, and somebody to help calm him down when he’s upset,” said Jessica.

Brandon said the dog will cost $12,000 and they have created a GoFundMe page to collect donations for the $5,000 down payment.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover

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