Family seeks funding for assistance dog for autistic child


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Ella Hanssen is eight years old. She goes to school, she rides a bicycle and makes paper cranes like any child, but Ella has autism.

Link to Ella Hanssen’s Assistance Dog Donation Page:

“Pretty early on, I felt like something was wrong with Ella,” Laura Hanssen’s adoptive mother Ella said. “I kind of started having her evaluated by a team at UCLA where she was diagnosed with autism. She is very intelligent and has a very high IQ but she is autistic.

Laura adopted Ella and her biological sister Sophie when they were under 2 years old.

The family has teamed up with Good Dog! Service Canines, a national organization aimed at matching service dogs with people with autism.

“It gives them a new best friend”, Ashley Carroll, dog trainer at Good Dog! noted. “They can interact with the audience, but the focus is not on them, but on the dog. It takes that extra pressure off them.

This best friend is something Ella needs because she will help her more as she gets older.

“Ella has a hard time making friends and keeping those friendships so this dog could be a stable companion for her,” Laura said.

“It can help me stay calm, it can be with me and it can help me stop losing myself a lot,” said Ella Hanssen.

But dogs don’t come cheap. They cost $ 16,000.

The Hanssens need help raising the remaining amount to provide Ella with the assistance dog she needs.

“One of the magical key places is eight thousand dollars where you can get on the official waitlist for a service dog and we’ve reached that milestone so we’re really excited,” Laura said. “Now we just need to finish this push so we can match Ella with a service dog.”

Ella and her family have been fundraising for over a year for a service dog. If you are interested in helping the family, you can go to their donation page here at:

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