Dog

Boy, 8, with autism, autoimmune encephalitis seeks service dog

Max Quimby, 8 years old, is in need of an autism assistance dog that would help with being in public spaces and changes in his routine.

Max Quimby, 8 years old, is in need of an autism assistance dog that would help with being in public spaces and changes in his routine.

Sporting a Journey shirt from a 1979 tour and munching on seaweed, Max Quimby is not your typical 8-year-old.

He has other traits that make him unique. When Max was 5, he was diagnosed with autism and autoimmune encephalitis.

With autism, Max struggles with being in public spaces and changes in his routine. The latter condition can cause his brain to become inflamed, leading to extreme headaches.

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His parents, Linda Nunes-Quimby and Michelle Quimby, think a service dog could enhance their son’s life.

Max, left, with parents Linda Nunes-Quimby, Michelle Quimby and brother Titus, 6.

Max, left, with parents Linda Nunes-Quimby, Michelle Quimby and brother Titus, 6.

They notice how gentle Max is with animals and think he may emotionally connect with them better than people. They have applied and been approved for an autism assistance dog through 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, Ohio.

Max’s dog will be his support in the areas that he struggles with and will be by his side to help make achieving day-to-day tasks possible. His dog will be taught to perform several behavior disruption techniques, including deep pressure.

Family looking to raise another $10,000

A service dog comes with a financial burden.

It costs 4 Paws an average of $50,000 to raise and train a service dog. Max’s family is raising $17,000 of the total cost and needs an additional $9,666 to meet the goal.

“His dog will literally be life-changing for him,” Nunes-Quimby said. “He’ll have the typical experience that teenagers have.”

Nunes-Quimby is looking ahead because it takes two to three years to train a service dog.

His parents, who will have been married for 10 years in March and have been together for 16 years, noticed Max started having issues when he was around 3.

“Developmentally, he was in a different place,” Quimby said. “The waiting list is always long with that.”

Max Quimby enjoys a snack in his home Wednesday morning.

Max Quimby enjoys a snack in his home Wednesday morning.

Max attended public schools until kindergarten. He is home-schooled.

“We have a lot of appointments,” Nunes-Quimby said. “We are always going to the doctor and for therapy.”

Quimby runs a business out of the family’s home, and Nunes-Quimby stays home as well.

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“Max’s biggest struggle is going out in public places,” Nunes-Quimby said. “Now that he’s getting bigger, it’s hard to carry him.”

If Max gets really stressed, he doesn’t talk. His parents think a service dog will have a calming influence on their son. The dog will stay in bed with Max.

To be approved by 4 Paws for Ability, Max needed a prescription from a doctor. The family has been raising money for almost a year.

“We started with the $17,000,” Quimby said. “We’ve raised almost $10,000. We’re almost in the home stretch.”

Max loves Legos, Pokémon, anything Star Wars

Max loves Legos, anything Star Wars and Pokémon. During an interview, he left the living room and returned with the “Super Deluxe Essential Handbook” of Pokémon, along with a Pokémon hat.

Max Quimby enjoys Pokémon and reading books.

Max Quimby enjoys Pokémon and reading books.

Max loves Journey because the classic rockers contributed a track to one of the “Tron” movies.

“He’s an old soul. He’s into throwback movies,” Nunes-Quimby said. “He reads a ton. He loves graphic novels and comic books.”

Quimby added, “Max is really independent. He’s able to do most things an 8-year-old would be able to do, like personal hygiene and household chores.”

Max has played soccer for four years at the Liederkranz. He enjoys playing with his 6-year-old brother Titus.

His parents said there’s a chance he could outgrow the autoimmune encephalitis. Of course, there is no cure for autism.

A service dog would help, especially socially.

“When he’s a teenager, he’ll be the cool kid who has a dog,” Nunes-Quimby said.

[email protected]

419-521-7219

Twitter: @MNJCaudill

Want to help?

To help Max get his service dog, credit card gifts can be made by going to: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Gt5l5f. Credit card donations can also be made over the phone at 4 Paws by calling 937-374-0385 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To donate by check, please make checks out to 4 Paws for Ability and write on the check memo line Max Quimby and mail to 4 Paws for Ability, 207 Dayton Ave., Xenia, OH 45385.

This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Mansfield boy would benefit from having service dog