Tulsa family in need on track to get service dog after weeks of fundraiser

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa family in need is now on track to be matched with a service dog after weeks of fundraising.

Three-year-old Frankie Matzenbacher has an infectious smile, fearless attitude, and bouncy head of curls.

Frankie’s mom Sarah O’Banion says her son also has sensory processing disorder, low muscle tone and trouble eating and drinking. He sees several therapists and needs to be watched constantly as he has no impulse control or safety awareness. This means he doesn’t know not to run in the street or jump off a tall slide at the playground.

In his family’s latest effort to improve Frankie’s quality of life, they worked to match him with a service dog through “4 Paws 4 Ability,” an organization based out of Ohio.

“Anytime in public, if he were to get away from us, the dog would be trained for his scent and would be able to track him down immediately,” O’Banion says.

It’s an animal she says could be lifesaving for her son.

“We would also be able to tether Frankie to the dog to give him that freedom, but also to keep him safe.”

This pup comes at a pretty penny, however, O’Banion says service dogs from the organization cost between $40,000-$60,000. The nonprofit pays for a big chunk of that, but the family is still left with a bill of about $17,000.

“We have put forth what we could and our amazing friends, family and community support from people we don’t even know have helped us with the rest of it.”

Only working toward that price point for about a month, O’Banion says the family also received a major boost from an anonymous donor, fronting about half of that $17,000.

As of Monday morning, O’Banion tells FOX23 her family has reached their financial goal and are on track to connect Frankie with a service dog in about two years.