Family hopes to get service dog for Elkhart teen
“Having a dog would just give him more encouragement, give him confidence that he needs and especially the part about him having seizures, being able to lead him to safety,” therapist Sam Resendez says.
Sam Resendez has been Eddie Gonzalez’ therapist for three years, working with him through behavioral issues and helping teaching him life skills.
His mom approached Resendez about how to get a service dog for Eddie because his seizures have gotten more intense as he's gotten older.
“Recently, he had one in the pool and nobody knows when it is happening and so when he had that seizure in the pool, he bruised up his leg, he could've drowned,” Resendez said. “And having a service dog, they can predict when the seizure is coming.”
The Gonzalez family primarily speaks Spanish, but one trainer says that won't be an issue when training the dog.
“Honestly, dogs don't know English,” Rachel Curley said. “We teach the dog he has to sit and down and to come. But to them that's just a command. I can actually teach one of my dogs to sit to the word hamburger to down to cheeseburger, whatever you need them to do, we can teach the dogs.”
The owner of Northern Indiana Service Dogs says she can train dogs to detect seizures up to 18 minutes before their owner has an episode.
“It’s just not training dogs for pets, but it's training dogs who have a purpose in life,” Curley said. “Training dogs that will literally save your life.”
But training a service dog direct to Eddie’s needs costs nearly $9,000 dollars.
Nine thousand dollars that one day could save Eddie’s life.
“You know service dogs, yes, might be a luxury, but they are also a medical device,” Curley said. “Like somebody that has no legs needs their wheelchair, somebody that has these seizures needs these dogs to tell them, 'Hey, something's going to happen, we need to get you safe.'”
The family has set up a Go Fund Me to raise money toward a service dog. If you would like to donate, you can