Ten-year old Cody Ortmeier loves running, playing ball, music and animals.
“If it’s not a ball, it becomes a ball,” said Cody’s father, Nick Ortmeier.
Cody’s face lights up at his favorite school subject, P.E., and when his parents talk about the service dog the family will be getting to assist Cody.
Cody has two genetic disorders that affect his mobility and his mood and cause seizures. Cody and his family have been accepted in the 4 Paws for Ability program to receive a multi-purpose service dog.
The family is still a has a long journey ahead of them before they receive the service dog. Training a service dog can cost up to $60,000 and 4 Paws asks families to raise $17,000 to help cover those costs.
To raise funds, the Ortmeier family will be having a bake sale Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Christ Our Rock Lutheran Church, 3040 Stonehedge Drive NE, Rochester.
The event will also feature the sale of cookbooks. Nothing Bundt Cakes of Rochester and Rustic Cafe of Lake City will be selling their baked goods at the event. Local 4 Paws service dog team Elias Netzel, 12, and his dog Rambler will be there, too.
A service dog would monitor Cody for seizures and provide mobility support and companionship.
Cody often becomes upset when he is not able to do all the things his brother and sister are able to do. Cody’s parents are hopeful that the dog will help Cody when he becomes emotional and make activities he finds boring or hard be more fun.
Sarah Ortmeier, Cody’s mother, started planning ways to raise money the day after the family was accepted to the 4 Paws program, and she is determined to raise the full amount before the end of August.
4 Paws tells families that it takes about three to nine months to complete the fund raising. But the Netzel family was able to collect the funds within a month and a half, according to Sarah.
It will be at least two years before the family is able to bring their service dog home.
Once the fundraising is complete, the family is able to sign up for a 12-day training course at the 4 Paws facility in Xenia, Ohio. The courses are full for the next two years, so the earliest the family would be able to take a class currently is June, 2021.
“The dog will be a family project,” Sarah said. Cody will not be able to take care of the dog on his own, so the family is being trained as a three-person team consisting of Sarah as the handler, Cody and the service dog.
Leading up to the class, the family has been asked to video tape their life so 4 Paws will be able to find a dog suited to them. Cody won’t be placed with a dog until six months to a year out from his training date.
Even after the dog is brought home, the family will have to train with the dog for an additional five months before the dog can go out in public with Cody.
For Sarah, everything will become more real when they complete the fundraising. For now, she is just focused on the bake sale.
“I have some options in the back of my mind,” Sarah said about the other fundraisers she is planning. For now she is just waiting to see how the bake sale will go.
In addition to fundraising events, the Ortmeiers have posted a page on Mightycause (www.mightycause.com/story/Codyo), an online fundraising site. Donations are also accepted by check made payable to 4 Paws for Ability and mailed to 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia OH 45385 with Cody Ortmeier’s name in the memo line.