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.
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.
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“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.
“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.