MADEIRA, Ohio (WKRC) — An Ohio girl’s birthday wish for a service dog was granted.
Jerrica Stone has a condition called congenital myasthenic syndrome. She uses a wheelchair and has a tracheostomy and a ventilator, as well as a feeding tube for medication and nutrition. She’s fluent in sign language.
For Stone's 13th birthday, a service dog was all she wanted. The family set up a fundraiser hoping to raise $5,000 to buy the dog.
“She was so excited. Every day she would come home and would say, 'Did I raise enough money yet? Did I raise enough money yet?'” Barbara McClaren said.
By the time Stone’s birthday rolled around at the end of May, she tripled the goal raising $15,000. Her family recently welcomed home Sydney, a Golden Retriever puppy.
“We’ve had a rough couple of years. To be able to have something really happy, fun and exciting happen has been really wonderful. Sydney has brought a lot of joy into the house we weren’t expecting, along with exhaustion. We are exhausted,” McClaren said.
The donations will help pay for Sydney’s first year of training to become a service dog, but her emotional services have already begun. Once she's fully trained, the dog will change Stone’s life.
“Picking things up off the floor, she will be able to open doors for her. Jerrica doesn’t have the arm strength to be able to turn a door knob and pull a door open. That’s a safety problem for us,” she said.
After years of wishful thinking, Stone has a new best friend. The two can now stay side by side, helping each other through life.
“It has really blown us away. We really just thought we might get enough for the puppy. This has been just astonishing. We are so thankful,” McClaren said.