A local boy with special needs could soon get a life changing addition to his family: a service dog that would help him with his autism.
Mason Bowling is a 4-year-old who has also has a genetic chromosome disorder.
The family is now relying on donations and fundraisers to be able to get Mason his service dog, which will cost $25,000.
Mason’s mother Danielle Bowling says the dog will help him develop socially and will be trained in search in rescue in case Mason were to wander off or go missing.
“I hope that he is understood better, by the dog calming him,” says Danielle Bowling.
They expect the dog to be a best friend for Mason, who has a hard time making them.
“He knows they are gonna be like scooby and shaggy. They’ll be two in one,” says Danielle Bowling.
They say this dog will not only change Mason’s life, but their familiy’s life as well.
“We’ve known for a long time the he has a disability, but we’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. We’re in hopes that this will be it,” says Danielle Bowling.
The Bowling family is asking the community for help, and their request has not fallen on deaf ears.
A former professional basketball player who also played for the Univeristy of Tennessee from 1994-1996 is organizing a charity basketball tournament for Mason. The Tri-Cities local, Damon Johnson, says all proceeds raised at the event, called “Ballin’ for Autism,” will fund Mason’s service dog.
“I hope that this brings attention to autism, attention to kids that need dogs and attention to the fact that dogs are there to help kids in this situation,” says Johnson.
He says once he realized how much money needed to be rasied, he knew he had to help out.
“For $25,000 to bring peace to Mason, to bring some type of stability to Mason, to bring some type of life to Mason, it’s not a lot of money. As a community it’s not a lot of money. As a community we could come together and raise that in a heartbeat. But it takes a community to do that,” says Johnson.
The charity tournament will be held on February 23 at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.
The registration deadline is February 8, it costs $150 to sign up.
Boys and girls grades 3 through 8 are eligible to register.
Any questions can be answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More events to help raise money for Mason’s service dog are in the works for the next few months, those can be found on his Facebook page.
Monetary donations can be made directly to Mason’s fundrasier online.