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Family raises money for service dog for son with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Heather Piper works with son Lewis Hay. Piper is fundraising to get her child a necessary...
Heather Piper works with son Lewis Hay. Piper is fundraising to get her child a necessary service dog.(Jared Austin)
Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There are dogs and cats in the house already, but Lewis Hay’s adoptive mother wants him to have one more comforting, furry, friend; a service dog.

Hay has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a condition that caused brain damage in the womb. Hay’s mother, Heather Piper, says the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can sometimes cause Hay to have violent outbursts.

“Pets are an equalizer and then you see a kid with a service dog and then you think ‘oh what’s up with that?’ It’s take away any social stigma of a child with a disability,” said Piper. "

Piper has already raised $17,000 in 7 months for her son to get the service dog. Now, she is raising an additional $5,000 for a two-week trip to Ohio to pick it up.

“We have gotten quite a few donations. We have some very large anonymous donations that I don’t even know who donated,” said Piper. One donation, $8,000 given anonymously. “I cried. To be honest I cried. I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t have words.”

The dog has been totally paid for. Now it’s a waiting game. Piper and Hay have to wait for an Ohio company, For Paws, to train the new dog specifically for Hay. It has to learn how to give Hay deep pressure comfort, like laying on him when he gets overwhelmed.

“The dog will assist him in helping him to control his emotions. Help me in assisting if Lewis elopes or runs off,” said Piper. She said her son needs a dog that will work around the clock.

With the service dog by his side, Piper hopes her son will also be able to go back to school full-time. For Hay, he’s excited about something much simpler.

“He’s going to sleep on my bed with me,” Hay said.

Piper is hopeful once Lewis gets a service dog, he can go to school full time.

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