BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There was a special moment Tuesday morning on Good Day Alabama when a Pelham teenager first met her new service dog.
Haleigh Mancuso, a junior at Pelham High School, knew was getting a service dog for intractable epilepsy but there wasn’t an established timetable due to expenses.
It turned out that moment came just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
“I’m so speechless right now. It means everything to me. It means the world to me,” Haleigh said.
Haleigh’s mom, Amanda Chapman, said the service dog, Tio, will be “life changing.”
“She had absolutely no clue so we knew this was going to be emotional for her. Just to see them meet each other for the first time is very emotional,” Chapman said.
Tio will help Haleigh by alerting her parents to nighttime seizures, providing mobility bracing when recovering from seizures, providing comfort during seizures and retrieving medication.
Tio was trained by Lauren Hogan, who owns Precision K-9 in Helena. She was able to procure a dog that is already trained in mobilty work and response work. She will finish the dog with customized skills unique to supporting Haleigh. The cost of the finished dog is approximately $30,000, which includes approximately two years of training, of which 16 months has been completed.
The fundraising team has raised about $11,000 and has another $19,000 to go. They have numerous upcoming events that people can support and also a GoFundMe page.