The hero of this story is a furry, four-legged super hero to many children and adults with autism at Easterseals Happiness House; he is the Autism Therapy Dog whose name is Braden Jet. Bayside Pet Resort and the Humane Society of Sarasota had a joint vision of providing Easterseals with their own Autism Therapy Dog to complement their already strong Autism Program. The organizations made their dream come true and partnered together to find, purchase, train and care for an Autism Therapy Dog for Easterseals Southwest Florida. Bayside Pet Resort paid for Braden’s initial training, grooming and daily daycare. The Humane Society of Sarasota paid for Braden’s medical expenses for the first year of his time at Easterseals. Braden himself was selected by a K-9 Behavior Specialist at the Humane Society of Sarasota County.
Braden Jet excelled at his training classes and moved seamlessly into his new job with a true sense of purpose and enjoyment in his work. Right out of the gate he proved himself to be a dedicated member of the Easterseals staff, helping sooth children with sensory needs during their moments of need. No matter what, his tail was always wagging, bringing joy to the children he supported.
Despite Braden Jet’s wonderful demeanor and personality, it did not stop him from experiencing pain. Not long after beginning his career at Easterseals, he began to feel pain in his hips. The fact that he was in pain was obvious to everyone. When the kids would put too much weight near his hips, he would move away quietly. Sometimes he would have to lie down instead of play with the other dogs at Bayside Pet Resort’s doggy daycare. Even though Braden was faced with immense pain, he was as kind as always, just more reserved.
Braden was faced with a difficult dilemma. When they took Braden to the vet, they found out he had only two options; either live a sedentary life on pain medication or undergo hip replacement surgery. Because Braden was young and strong, his doctor opted for the surgery. Luckily, he went through the surgery and made a full recovery.
Thanks to the financial support of Bayside Pet Resort and the Humane Society of Sarasota, Easterseals was provided half the necessary funds to pay for Braden’s surgery. Easterseals raised an additional $2,800 from a combination of online donations and sales of tote bags and t-shirts in the “Paw it Forward” campaign. Soon, Braden was able to return to his wonderful work at Easterseals. Today Braden Jet is an active employee at Easterseals and will be able to live a long and happy life bringing joy and comfort wherever he goes.
Easterseals Southwest Florida
350 Braden Ave. Sarasota, FL 34243