Service dog on the way for 10-year-old Utah boy

August 28, 2012

The Salt Lake City Tribune | August 28, 2012 | By Justina Mccandless

Ten-year-old Carter Veldevere cannot ring a doorbell, pick up a pencil or open and close a door.

When Carter was 14 months old, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type II, a degenerative disease that gradually disables muscle movement throughout the body.

He’s been on a waiting list for a service dog for four years. But on Tuesday, Carter’s classmates, teachers and friends and family celebrated the news that Milk-Bone and Smith’s Food and Drug Stores are sponsoring his request for a service dog from the non-profit Canine Assistants.

“I’m very excited for my dog,” Carter said. “It’ll be a great dog, and I can’t wait to get it.”

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Man’s best friend adds positive impact to kids with special needs

June 15, 2012

Man’s best friend adds positive impact to kids with special needs

FOX | June 11, 2012 | By Chris Olberholtz and Matt Stewart

LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) – Dogs are amazing animals and can do so many things. Now, one national organization is pairing up service dogs with kids with special needs.

An 8-year-old boy from Leawood just brought home his new best friend, and the positive impact it has made in his life is amazing.

Every morning, the parents of 8-year-old Charlie Sykora lift him out of bed and buckle him into his wheelchair so he can get around.

Charlie has Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA for short. He can’t walk. It is hard for him to play with other kids his age. He has struggled to make friends. But now he has a new best friend.

Meadow is half lab, half retriever, and she has helped people see Charlie in a different light.

“Charlie had been saying he didn’t want to go out in public because he didn’t like people staring at him, he didn’t like that feeling,” Charlie’s mother, Kim Sykora, said.

Charlie says people never used to come up to him before, only his family and friends.

“With a dog, it opens it up, it gives people a reason to approach,” his mom said.

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A New Best Friend for Metro Boy in Need

March 25, 2011

A New Best Friend for Metro Boy in Need

FOX (Kansas City) | March 24, 2011 | By Abby Eden

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A seven year-old metro boy with special needs from the Kansas City metro got a new canine companion for free today.

Charlie Sykora has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. His new canine companion will be able to help charlie with picking things up, alerting others if Charlie needs help, and even opening doors.

The free gift is a blessing for Charlie’s family.

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A gift of independence

March 23, 2011

A gift of independence

Echo Press | March 23, 2011 | By Tara Bitzan

DeAnn Runge of Alexandria was a senior in high school when she set her sights on getting a dog. She was looking for more than just companionship – she was seeking greater independence.

Runge suffers from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

There are varying degrees of SMA, and Runge says she’s “in the middle” of the spectrum. She has never been able to walk and has limited upper body strength.

She was watching a Dateline television program about a girl with SMA who was aided in her daily tasks by a service dog.

“Instantly I knew having a service dog would change my life,” said Runge, a 1998 Jefferson High School graduate.

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