March 8, 2023
By Pickerington Online Intern Zoey Moore
Pickerington North sophomore Anna Boesch is a resilient young woman who was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly. Anna had surgery within hours of her birth to repair the defect, however, it caused permanent paralysis to her lower body.
Anna refused to let her diagnosis define her, and she doesn’t give up when life gives her obstacles. That’s why Anna is raising money for a service dog that will aid her in daily tasks and enable her to live life independently.
“A service dog will mean a constant companion,” Anna said. “A dog will be the support I need when I go into the world alone without my parents.”
Anna’s mother, Amy Boesch said that “Anna also has social anxiety , which is very common for spina bifida kids. Using a wheelchair brings unwanted attention, causes even more anxiety. Anna hopes the dog will help ease anxiety as well as provide mobility support like maneuvering through crowds, retrieving objects out of reach, open doors, et cetera. All the things we help her with daily. Anna looks forward to all the same things every other young adult experiences and a service dog will give her confidence to do it all independently. She’ll never really be ‘alone’”.
Amy said that her family “learned about Wags4Kids from another Pickerington family whose son received a service dog from Wags4Kids a few years ago.”
Working Animals Giving Service for Kids (Wags4Kids) provides service dogs to children with mobility and autism needs. This organization, founded in 2004 by animal trainer Wendy Nelson and special education teacher Ed Crann, has placed over 60 service dogs with families throughout northeast and central Ohio.
The dogs are trained by inmates in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections which has been accredited by Cell Dog Training Program.
It costs $28,000 to train a service dog. Wags4Kids requires partner families to raise $9,000 of the cost while the program covers the rest. At the time this article was published, Anna still needed to raise more than $3,900 to meet her required contribution.
To help Anna, you can donate by clicking on the following link: Meet Anna B – Kids In Need Spina Bifida (wags4kids.org), or donations are accepted in the form of checks sent to Wags4Kids, 112 East Center Street, Berea, OH 44017. If you mail a check, please note on the memo line that the funds are meant for “Anna Boesch.”