North Texas Teen Gifted Service Dog After Her First Was Fatally Shot

Hannah Westmoreland got the surprise of the lifetime Sunday. 

On Jan. 13, the North Texas teen's service dog was shot and killed right in front of her Quinlan home -- about 40 miles northeast of Dallas. 

"The day Journey died, for the first time in my life, I couldn't figure out how good could come from something so awful," said Tina Westmoreland, Hannah's mother. "Journey was pretty special. He really was a special part of our family."

Hannah's friends and neighbors raised $10,000 about four years ago so she could afford her first service dog, Journey. Journey would alert Hannah and others around if her blood sugar reached dangerously low levels. The 15-year-old has diabetes.

When Journey was killed, Hannah's mom said there was a void the family just couldn't fill.

Tina Westmoreland

Nearly two months to the day after the tragedy, the Westmorelands got to see the good coming from something so awful. Amy Novacek and her husband, former Dallas Cowboy tight end Jay Novacek, heard Hannah's story and stepped in to help. 

"I mean, it's one thing to kill a pet, that's just horrible in itself," Amy Novacek said. "But to take an individual that keeps her functional and moving [is horrible]."

Amy understands exactly what Hannah is going through, as she uses a service dog herself, due to devastating car crash. 

The Novaceks breed service dogs through their Novacek's 84 Labradoodles Breeding Program.

"Maybe we can patch that a little bit, and this can get her healing and moving forward and give her a little confidence and trust and faith in people again," Amy said.

"What's so neat is that a lot of times the individual doesn't pick the puppy, the puppy picks the individual," Jay said.

Hannah said she is naming the new dog Joey. She said if the dog was a girl, she would have named her Joy, thinking of a saying she once heard during her treatment, "Joy in the Journey." Since her new companion is a boy, she said the closest name to Joy was Joey.

Noah Bullard

Hannah and her family are not only getting the dog for free, but they are also getting his training for free as well, courtesy of All Purpose Canines Inc.

Police are still searching for the person or persons responsible for fatally shooting Journey.

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