Kourtnee Dawne Peters, age 4, was diagnosed with ONH and autism by age 2. She is nearly blind and suffers from social anxiety, sensory overload, and many other symptoms
Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens
STAFF WRITER

Childhood is an important step in growth and development. Children should feel safe and protected.One Mountain City family is taking steps to make this possible for their little angel with man’s best friend.Four-year-old Kourtnee Dawne Peters struggles with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH) and autism. She deals with sensory overload, social anxiety, trouble communicating, motor difficulties, and noise sensitivity on a daily basis. Between her sensory difficulties and near blindness, Peters’ family realized that she is in desperate need of comfort and a seeing-eye service dog, thus launching Kourtnee’s Paws of Hope, a campaign through Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR) to raise money for the cause.

“For her, this will make her life a lot better. We want to try and make her life more comfortable,” said Mountain City resident and Peters’ great uncle David Torbett. “We can make it where she is not so scared in life.”

One major hurdle that stands in the way is cost. Service dogs cost approximately $25,000. The exorbitant cost led the family to ask for local support.The family have hosted a yard sale, spaghetti benefit dinner, and will host a benefit bass tournament on Friday, July 19. The upcoming fundraiser will be at Fish Springs Marina at 191 Fish Springs Road in Hampton from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cost is $35 per boat with a maximum of two contestants per team per boat.

Approximately 58 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the cause while the other 42 percent goes towards the tournament. Call David Torbett at 423-895-2453 to register.
The family has raised more than $4,000 so far; a good start, but a long way to go. The goal is to provide Kourtnee a furry companion to keep her calm, safe, and
happy.

Area residents are asked to please support Kourtnee at the upcoming fundraiser or directly at her campaign on SDWR at sdwr.donordrive.com/PersonalCampaign/Kourtnee-s-Paws-of-Hope.