This weekend: Shop to bring together a boy and his future service dog

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Steven with his CCI acceptance letter. - COURTESY SERVICE DOG FOR STEVEN
  • Courtesy Service Dog for Steven
  • Steven with his CCI acceptance letter.

Sixteen-year-old Steven Griffin is a purple belt in Tae Kwon Do. He loves his Toy Story dolls, and he always greets his doctors and nurses with a smile and a handshake. Steven has undergone over a dozen surgeries and is largely non-verbal due to Down Syndrome, but he has an active lifestyle here in the Springs and within the next two years that will likely increase with the help of a service dog from California's Canine Companions for Independence.
Steven with a local CCI dog for training. - COURTESY SERVICE DOG FOR STEVEN
  • Courtesy Service Dog for Steven
  • Steven with a local CCI dog for training.

CCI places dogs with families for free, but the Griffins must travel to CCI's headquarters in Santa Rosa three times for evaluation, placement and training with a dog (the training trip alone lasts two weeks). Steven's parents must accompany him, as well as his younger sister Emma, who helps translate what he's saying.

So that makes up 12 round-trip tickets, accommodations, rental cars, food and then veterinary care and supplies for the dog — a hefty bill for the Griffins.

But they're getting help from local teenagers who are devoting the beginning of summer vacation to raising money for the Griffins. Led by twins Nathan and Elizabeth Fronterhouse, the group of 10 — who call themselves "Fans of Steven Griffin" — are hosting a bake sale and garage sale this weekend to help meet the $9,000 GoFundMe goal set up by parent Donna Lorrig. 

The sale will run this Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, at 5717 Stable Court off Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard. The sale will accept donations as well — contact Lorrig on the event Facebook page. The fund has already raised about $1,500; follow its progress, as well as Steven's, here.

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