Annie is a 16-year-old girl from Pennsylvania diagnosed with autism and cerebral palsy. Because of her condition, she sometimes suffers from anxiety and epilepsy.

Attending classes has been challenging all her life. Her parents also worry that she might have seizures and panic attacks while at school.

To help her overcome her difficulties, her parents worked hard and saved up to get her a service dog. For years, they tucked away enough money to cover the 17,000-dollar price tag of this essential animal. They also had to wait two years as the dog trained.

Finally, Annie had her service dog, and his presence worked wonders for her. She named him George.

No dogs allowed

Saucon Valley High School, where Annie attends her classes, didn’t see how important George was to the student’s condition. Instead of classifying the well-trained pooch as a service dog, they classified him as an emotional support animal. This made it seem that he wasn’t essential.

They argued that Annie had been going to school for a long time and she never needed a dog then. They didn’t realize how much stress and suffering the teenager had endured all those years. Although Annie’s parents wanted her to have a service dog long before, they couldn’t afford it.

Judge’s ruling

With the help of a nonprofit organization named Merlin’s Kids, Annie’s parents took the matter to court. They showed that George is critical to Annie’s well-being.

The dog’s training allowed him to detect rising cortisol levels through her breath, and he would calm her down before she gets a seizure or panic attack. If a seizure does happen, the dog will press himself against Annie to prevent her from falling and hurting herself.

While the case was being heard, Annie stayed at home. She missed school for almost four months. Thankfully, all their waiting and hard work paid off. The judge ruled against the school and allowed George to join Annie in her classes.

Everybody was ecstatic over the outcome. This legal victory gave voice to people with disabilities.

Source: Merlin’s KIDS Service Dogs via Facebook


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