Haylee and Lucy

In Grade 9, Haylee Henry was diagnosed with Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, a condition that gave her frequent twitches and seizures. In time, the seizures got worse and finding the right medications to subdue and control them was difficult. Then came the Non epileptic seizures (PNES) caused by her PTSD & Anxiety, to which Haylee was having them 3 times a day for months on end. One instance saw Haylee passed out from having a seizure outside her school where she was finally found by another student after 30 minutes alone.

What led them to Hope 4 MVC Kids was a desire to get Haylee a service dog, after learning how it could benefit her diagnoses. After researching and contacting several agencies both in Canada and the USA, they were running out of hope. They discovered that you could go the “train your own service dog” route and that the cost would be in excess of $8,000, not including the cost of a dog. After much more research, they were encouraged to contact Hope 4 MVC Kids for help.

Meet Lucy

Lucy is a Nova Scotia Duck tolling retriever and has been an amazing support to Haylee. They have been working with a wonderful dog trainer out of Olds, Jodi Dixon at Unleashed Canines, who worked from day 1 with the Henry’s to identify the best breed for them and discussed certification requirements for owner training. An additional benefit of Haylee training her own service dog is that they would be able to start bonding right away and do all their training together.

We were so overwhelmed with gratitude when Hope 4 MVC Kids called us to let us know they could help us. Hope 4 MVC Kids is a godsend; they paid the balance for Lucy, and are helping with training costs. The money Haylee raised with her Go Fund Me has been used for Lucy’s vets bills and will cover her extended training and certification.

Lucy is such a calming presence in Haylee’s life. She has grown to be a mature, intelligent dog through her training; she understands she has a job and can sense when a seizure is imminent. Now, looking to the future, Haylee is excited about daily life with her and looks forward to really fostering that connection with Lucy. With Lucy by her side she can gain that independence.

Support dogs can be useful in so many ways, they can help with mental illnesses that aren’t visible to all. Not all disabilities are visible and it is Haylee’s hope that everyone is respectful of that. Also, training your own service dog is hard work but it is doable with the right assistance and can provide an immense connection with the individual.