**Nearly $5,000 has been raised so far!**
Chesapeake, Va. - Dr. Duane Harding hopes one day soon to have a service dog.
Deveny, belongs to trainer Gemma Soberano, who is searching for the right dog to help Duane deal with his severe case of narcolepsy.
“I’m really just being very specific in what I want for Duane. I think it`s very important,” says Soberano. “We`re not looking for an AKC show dog.”
Demand for service dogs is high.
Gemma's group, Paws Training Centers, also helped train Harper, who is now the love of young Julia Lee's life.
Julia has a condition called cavernous angiomas which involves abnormal blood vessels in the brain. They look a little like raspberries. They can hemorrhage and they cause seizures and they cause strokes.
For most of Julia's life, Connie Lee has been afraid to leave her alone but with Harper there, everything changed.
“In our home, we have a life alert button that is mounted to the wall, so I can leave Julia at home alone. If something were to happen, Harper could find the button and press it,” says Connie.
“As a teenager and as I am growing older, I would like some more independence so she allows me to stay home by myself longer so my mom doesn`t have to worry if there`s an emergency, and she`s not there to help me,” says Julia.
Getting a dog like Harper isn't easy or cheap. The Lee family spent an estimated $10,000 to $12,000 and months of time training. But what price is that compared to a mother's comfort?
“Harper goes to school with Julia. She can go anywhere that Julia goes. I don`t have to worry. Basically, I trust this dog with my daughter`s life,” says Connie.
And it's that peace of mind Dr. Duane wants. If the right dog can be found and paid for.
If you'd like to help, you can mail a donation to:
Paws Training Centers
15 Davidson Road
West Chester, PA 19382
PAWS Training Center, which recently opened a branch in Virginia Beach, provides Service Dog training for many unique needs… including Narcolepsy. A Medical Alert Assistance Dog can be specially trained to wake up their handler, or keep their handler from going in the wrong direction or doing something dangerous. They are also trained to alert their handlers to specific times of day to remind them to take their medication.