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Benefit to raise funds for dog

Autistic girl will benefit from owning service dog

September 3, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

WEBSTER CITY - Work continues to raise enough money to buy an autism service dog for 6-year-old Lillian Luensmann, daughter of Katie and Shawn Newman, of Webster City.

To help with that, a benefit is planned for 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Salvation Army in Fort Dodge.

"For auction, we have a lot of great items from local merchants as well as NASCAR tickets and mini vacations," Katie Newman said. "Our carnival tickets for children are three for a dollar."

She said the goal is to raise $10,000. "The cost of the dog is $8,900 and then we need to fly it and its trainers here and cover hotel as they stay for five days and train us and Lillian."

Previous fundraisers have made some of the funds needed. At an Aug. 28 Puppy Days Mardi Gras celebration at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, inmates in the leader dog program donated $300 to the family to help raise money for the service dog, and pledged $50 a month for a year to help feed the dog as soon as it comes to Iowa.

The family is working with Highland Canine Training in North Carolina to get a service dog.

Fact Box

If you go:

WHO: Lillian Luens-mann, 6, daughter of Katie and Shawn Newman, of Webster City.

WHAT: Benefit to raise money for autism service dog.

WHEN: From 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: The Salvation Army, 126 N. Seventh St.

ADMISSION is $5 a person.

DINNER with pork sandwiches and sides, children's carnival, silent auction, magician Larry Dunbar.

AN ACCOUNT, A Dog for Lillian, has been established at Citizens Community Credit Union, 2012 First Ave. S., Fort Dodge, IA 50501.

"We're approved for it," Newman said. "The deposit we need to start the thing rolling is $2,500."

She said the center "starts with an adult dog that already has been obedience-trained. If we can raise the full amount by the end of the year, she'll have the dog by the time school is out."

Lillian has been diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder - she doesn't like change. Any change can send her running to a safe hiding place, whether at school or home. At this point, Newman said, adults know where these hiding places are, but once Lillian gets older and runs, she could hide somewhere out of the norm.

"They train these dogs in tracking, so if the child does run, the dog would be able to track her," Newman said.

Because of Lillian's delayed social development, she has no tolerance to change, her mother said. "A dog would be one thing that would never change, and that's been proven to be a huge asset for kids with these disorders."

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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