LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — An organization that places services dogs with children is helping a local kid.

JD Hagerman lives in Loves Park. He struggles with Autism, ADHD and several other diagnoses. His family is asking for help to raise money to breed, raise, and train an assistance dog for him.

The average cost for a service dog is anywhere between $40-50,000, but 4 Paws for Ability helps families cover some of the bill. The Hagermans will have to contribute $23,000 in total.

They have reached well over half of their goal so far.

“He said he wanted to name it Salsa,” sister Eva Mae said.

“He’s obsessed with salsa, so that’s what he tells us he wants the name to be,” mom Jerrica Hagerman added.

The Hagermans are preparing for the new furry friend to join the family. JD was diagnosed with autism at 3-years-old.

“JD is really loving. He gives, we call them forehead bumps, but that’s how he shows his love. He likes to push his forehead against yours,” Jerrica said. “He is really snuggly, and he likes to tickle and play, but he definitely has some challenges as well.”

Bret and Jerrica said that one of the reasons they are seeking out a service dog is because JD does not recognize danger like a typical 10-year-old would.

“Well, he likes to run, and he has no sense of direction, or strangers or anything like that,” Brett said. “So, yeah, there’s been a few times where JD has taken off and scared us and caused to panic and go search around for him.”

Taylor Dyer is the client services coordinator with 4 Paws for Ability. She said that the dog will help solve that issue. It will be trained in behavior disruption and tethering, which is a preventative task to keep the child from wandering.

“In the event that he does elope, whether that be from home or he’s not tethered to his dog, the dog will also be trained in what we call tracking,” Dyer said. “This is when the dog smells them down.”

Dyer added that having a dog as support helps build connections with peers.

“At the core of it, that dog becomes their best friend in a world where it’s hard for them to connect, they have that one thing that understands them the most,” Dyer said. “The dogs are their best friend, but they are also their biggest advocator.”

4 Paws places about 100-120 dogs per year. They are so booked with clients that it could take over two years until JD physically has the pup on his side.