A month ago Copper, a golden retriever who is now 11 weeks old, joined the Demeth family in Shorewood.
Although Copper is just a puppy, sheâs being trained for a big job, to work as a service dog for Jacob Demeth, a 2-year-old boy who has several developmental delays and no diagnosis yet, his mother Jenn Demeth said.
âHe has sensory processing disorder and low muscle tone, which wears him out,â Jenn said. âHis muscles are weaker than the average personâs. Weâre not sure yet if he has an underlying disorder or something genetic.â
Jenn said Copper needs about 12 to 18 months of training to become a service dog, âdepending on how fast she learns and catches onto things,â Jenn said.
âShe is smart,â Jenn added. âShe is catching on real quick.â
The Demeth family is raising the $2,500 they need for Copperâs training through GoFundMe. At first, the family needed the money to buy the service dog because health insurance does not cover the cost, Jenn said.
But then something happened when Jenn contacted the breeder.
âShe donated the dog,â Jenn said
Jenn grew up with boxers, and she likes the breed, but her research showed golden, as well as Labrador, retrievers make better service dogs. Â
âTheyâre very willing to learn,â Jenn said. âThey love to show off.â
A service dog will help Jacob with his sensory processing disorder.
âA service dog will help him come down when he is loaded with too much going on,â Jenn said. âDeep pressure therapy will calm him and recenter him and get him refocused.â
Jenn said Jacob has a twin sister named Emily as well as a 4-year-old sister named Kristyn. Simply having other children in the family made it obvious to her Jacob wasnât reaching major developmental milestones.
âI know youâre not supposed to compare,â Jenn said. âBut when we hit a certain point, when he was a year old, and he still wasnât doing things a 1-year-old should be doing, we knew something serious was going on.â
For instance, Jacob didnât roll over or crawl; he scooted, Jenn said. He easily is overwhelmed and often initiates play by tackling someone instead of approaching a person in an easier manner. Â
Copper can help Jacob learn to be gentler with playmates, Jenn said. Already Jacob and Copper are becoming friends.
For updates and to donate toward Copperâs service dog training, visitÂ www.gofundme.com/jacobsgoldenjourney.