Cary family needs help raising money for service dog

The family spent months fundraising and thought they'd have more time to raise money.
October 24, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
A Cary family is desperate to give a gift they promised their daughter with autism. They want to purchase an autism service dog.

The Smith family spent months fundraising and thought they'd have a year to come up with all the money needed, but then one phone call changed everything. The dog became available a lot earlier than they expected.

Now, they need to raise about $1,200 in a short amount of time that could really help her.

Marisa Smith, 15, attends West Lake Middle School in Cary, and is a child with Autism. She has five dogs already that are trained to calm and relax her at home.

"I love these guys," said Marisa. "They help me feel better, and they're like my little family."

However, her "family" isn't allowed to come with her to school. Marisa's parents want to get her an autism service dog that would be allowed to accompany her during classes.

They have the money to purchase the $22,000 dog, but not enough funds to go Ohio where the dog is at and train with it for two weeks. Marisa's parents are scrambling now to raise money.

"I just want to know that my kid's happy, she's safe and she needs this," said Marisa's mother, Laurie Smith.

Just last year, Marisa wandered away from school and was found on the road by a police officer.

"That was a little scary and just don't want it to happen ever again," said Laurie.

Besides an extra layer of safety at school, her parents are also hoping the dog helps her socially.

"Without having many friends, or any friends really, this would be an awesome dog for companionship and go with her and make her feel comfortable," said Marisa's dad, John Smith.

The family is supposed to make the pick-up Dec. 1, and it's a date Marisa is looking forward to

"So that I can have a best friend," said Marisa.

The parents are trying to raise the money for travel by the end of November.

Click here, if you'd like to help.

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