Rescue Dog Helps Indiana Teen Overcome Seizures - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Clear the Shelters

Finding Forever Homes Across the Country on Aug. 19, 2017

Rescue Dog Helps Indiana Teen Overcome Seizures

With The Help From a Local Shelter, a Puppy Became a Support Dog

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Save the Date! On Aug. 19, 2017, NBC and Telemundo stations all across the country will team up with hundred of shelters across the country to match shelter pets with their forever homes. (Published Monday, July 31, 2017)

    For Lisa Reid, watching her son Ryan have his first seizure at age 13 was horrible.

    “As a mother, I felt helpless,” she said.

    Reid was considering adopting a dog for her son to help his previous emotional issues, but the seizure in Nov. of 2016 pushed her to go through with the adoption.

    The Reid family went on to adopt Charlie, a golden retriever puppy, at a time when Ryan was having eight to 12 seizures a day. From the moment Reid went to adopt the puppy, she said Charlie bonded with Ryan.

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    Kevin, a teen with autism and cerebral palsy, knew he found a forever friend when he met Yukon, an eight month old great dane, at a kennel. Kevin's mother, Tabatha Branch, said the feeling was mutual.

    "It was really amazing when we got there to the rescue shelter when they brought Yukon back out he immediately just walked up to Kevin and wrapped his arms around and laid his little head on him, it was so precious. It was just like instant," Branch told NBC affiliate WBBH.

    Branch said she believes Yukon would know if her son was going to have a seizure and alert them, adding that the family is happy Kevin has found such a loyal best friend.

    (Published Monday, July 24, 2017)

    Reid then took Charlie to I Wanna Go Home Rescue in Dyer, Indiana. Organization founder, Sue Hanlon offered to train the puppy to become an emotional support animal for Ryan.

    As Ryan continued having seizures, missing school and going for testing, Charlie began to play a larger role in the family. Reid said when Ryan was having a seizure, Charlie would alert her by barking. 

    Charlie helped Reid respond faster to her son's seizures and ensured he received the care he needed. The dog also helped Ryan relax.

    “If Ryan gets in a mood, Charlie can clam him down,” Reid said.

    Looking back, Reid seems at ease with her decision to adopt Charlie. Ryan has been seizure free since January and is now stable enough to spend his first summer at a Boy Scout camp.

    Charlie is currently being trained at I Wanna Go Home Rescue by an ex-Highland, Indiana, police officer to become a fully certified service dog, free of charge.

    Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

    “If you help someone who is sick, why would you charge?” Hanlon said.

    I Wanna Go Home Rescue is one of over 700 shelters across the country participating in Clear the Shelters on Aug. 19. 

    More than 53,000 pets were adopted through the 2016 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.