BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Ella Hanssen is eight years old. She goes to school, she rides a bike, and makes paper cranes like any child does, but Ella is autistic.
Ella Hanssen’s service dog donation page link: ella.gooddogservicecanines.com
“Pretty early on I felt like something wasn’t quite right for Ella,” Laura Hanssen Ella’s adoptive mother said. “I kind of started the processes of having her evaluated by a team in UCLA where she was diagnosed as autistic. She’s very intelligent and has a very high IQ but she’s autistic.”
Laura adopted Ella and her biological sister Sophie when they were less than 2 years old.
The family teamed up with Good Dog! Service Canines, a national organization aimed at pairing service dogs to people with autism.
“It gives them a new best friend,” Ashley Carroll a dog trainer at Good Dog! said. “They can interact with the public, but the attention isn’t on them it’s on the dog. It takes that extra pressure off of them.”
This best friend is something Ella needs as it’ll help her more as she grows.
“Ella has difficulties making friends and keeping those friendships so this dog could be a steady companion for her,” Laura said.
“It can help me stay calm, it can go places with me and it can help me stop getting lost a lot,” Ella Hanssen said.
But the dogs aren’t cheap. They cost 16,000 dollars.
The Hanssen’s need help to raise the remaining amount of money to get Ella the service dog she needs.
“One of the magic key places is eight thousand dollars where you can go on the official waiting list for a service dog and we have met that milestone so we’re really excited,” Laura said. “Now we just need to finish that push so we can get Ella matched with a service dog.”
Ella and her family have been raising funds for over a year to get a service dog. If you would like to help the family you can go to their donation page here at: ella.gooddogservicecanines.com