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Grand Rapids Puppy Adoption Puppies

Barking Boutique raises final $1,800 to support local boy’s service dog.

This summer, The Barking Boutique pitched in to help a Jenison family complete their fundraising goal to purchase and train a service dog for their son with autism.

While he may not seem different from other 8-year-olds on the surface, Caden gets frustrated easily, has a hard time venting his feelings and lacks social awareness. He goes to occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and ABA therapy to help with fine and gross motor skills and social skills. Taking all this into account, his family did some research and found that a service dog can open up his world, drawing other people to him and comforting him when he is upset no one else understands why.

"I went in to the Barking Boutique one day after I saw their story on the news, without any intent to ask them for money,” said Brooke Nichols, Caden’s mother who is heading up Caden’s fundraising efforts. “We started chatting, and David immediately offered to help our family in any way he could."

Brooke was already making handmade dog blankets to help with fundraising, so our team offered to purchase some from her to use in the store, as well as send one home with each puppy we sold.

It costs 4 Paws for Ability around $40,000.00 to raise and train each service dog. Each family is asked to raise $17,000.00 to help offset the cost of training the dog. In addition to dog blankets, the family also raised money through bake sales, a huge garage sale, workplace, church and family donations, collecting bottles and cans, and through online fundraising through the 4 Paws for Ability site and a Razoo fundraising site.

"Caden is an awesome kid with a great, supportive family, and he deserves this service dog to help him gain confidence in school and everyday life,” said David Boelkes, Barking Boutique founder. “It’s been fun getting to know the Nichols family, and follow their process, and it’s been fun to see how our customers have chipped in to support their cause as well."

If you are interested in hearing more about our puppy breeders or are interested in any of our puppy adoptions, please contact our Grand Rapids dog specialists at (616) 446-6766.