VANCOUVER, Wash. —
The family of a 12-year-old Vancouver boy who has autism is raising money to help purchase an autism anchoring dog for their son.
An autism anchoring dog can make a huge difference for a child like Deklan Nguyen. Children with autism sometimes run off. An autism anchoring dog is trained to lay down and keep the child from being able to go anywhere.
Deklan's father, Mark Montes, said his son has run off many times in the past.
"There was an instance with him years ago at school, running across a busy street, [he] didn't even look to see where he was going," said Mark Montes, Deklan's father. "We've had him run out in church parking lots before. [It's] just that inability to recognize danger."
Deklan used to have an autism anchoring dog, a St. Bernard named Andy. "He calmed me down," Deklan said. "He stopped me from running away."
But Andy died last summer, so Deklan's family is raising money to get him another autism anchoring dog. The new dog they want to bring into their family is named Valor.
Autism anchoring dogs go through special training, so they're expensive, costing anywhere from $30,000 to $35,000. And Deklan's family is just $5,000 away from reaching their fundraising goal.
On Sunday afternoon, the family held a benefit concert and fundraiser at Billy Blues Bar and Grill in Vancouver, with a silent auction and raffle tickets. Deklan even got up on stage and sang a song with his father and the band.