Make-A-Wish grants local child a service dog and ‘fur-ever friend’

Local

VISCHER FERRY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Jack, 3, will be better off for years to come thanks to a Labrador Retriever named Bear.

Meghan Spring, Jack’s mother, spelled out Bear’s name in sign language to Jack as he said each letter out loud.

“[Jack’s] vocabulary isn’t the biggest, plus, [the puppy] looks like a little teddy bear,” Spring said as the reason the dog has his name.

Jack and his family celebrated Bear’s homecoming at the Vischer Ferry Fire Company.

Bear is just a tiny puppy right now, but to Jack, he will soon make a big difference.

“[Bear] is going to be trained with a local trainer to go through his journey to become a mobility service dog to help [Jack] with independence as he progresses,” Spring told NEWS10 ABC.

Doctors at one point told Spring that her son wouldn’t ever be able to communicate.

“Jack was diagnosed at day five of life with a rare genetic disorder, which caused a severe neurological hit,” Spring explained.

He had a liver transplant before he was two years old but is doing exceptionally well despite the cards he was dealt.

“He gets on the bus in the morning, goes to school all day, gets all his therapies,” Spring said.

Once Bear matures a little bit, he’ll be joining Jack at school and everywhere else he goes, helping him with things he struggles to do on his own.

“[Bear] can help open doors, pick up things that [Jack] drops,” Spring said. “If he’s trying to go up an incline, he can help pull a wheelchair.”

Bear begins puppy classes at All Dawgs on January 7th.

Catherine Crawmer, a professional dog trainer, says besides helping complete tasks, service dogs create a special bond with their handler.

“There’s absolutely nothing like it, and you can’t buy that. It’s usually developed over time. It’s not instant,” she said.

Crawmer says the training for a service dog is intense, but Jack growing up with Bear will make the process even better.

Make-A-Wish supplied Jack’s family with supplies to get Bear started.

“There could be months or years of supportive trainers working with the recipient after they have received the dog” Crawmer said.

Make-A-Wish granter Kirsten Broschinski says when the family went to pick from the litter, Bear was the obvious choice.

“When Jack would get upset, or would make a loud noise, Bear was just okay,” Broschinski said.

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