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Town helps boy get new service dog

By By Ariana Cohen
Published On: Mar 25 2014 09:06:16 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2014 05:22:17 AM CDT
Town helps boy get service dog

WIBW

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -

It's been one year since 11-year-old Alex White's service dog, Hope, was hit by a car and killed.

"I'm still wishing it never happened. I'm still having a few flashbacks sometimes. It's still been hard to not have a dog helping me," says Alex.

"There are times he wanted to be dead just with Hope because he felt so bad about it," said Alex's mother, Mari White.

Alex has hereditary spastic paraplegia, an inherited disease that causes progressive weakness to his lower limbs.

Last year, Saige Halseth, one of Alex's classmates at Shawnee Heights Elementary in Topeka, Kan., started a fundraising campaign to help Alex get a new service dog. With the community's help, she raised $33,000.

"We are so thankful to the community," says White.

"He's just my friend and I wanted to help him because I know he would need it for the future," said Saige back in March 2013.

After one long year of looking for a dog with a personality that meshes with Alex, the Kansas Specialty Dog Service introduced Alex to his new service dog, Redondo.

"So far, he is really helpful. I have someone who can help me when I need it," says Alex, smiling.

"And they have really hit it off! It is a great personality match," says White.

"I was shocked to see how well they match. They just go together so well. We're pretty ecstatic," says Alex's father, Ray White.

From here on out, Alex looks forward to laughs and smiles with his new best friend.

"So we can have happy times now. He is pretty much a part of the family," Alex laughs as he pets Redondo.

Alex will bring Redondo to school Monday for the first time.

The White family has used the money raised to help start the Hope Scholarship Fund, which will help other children battling hereditary spastic paraplegia with their expenses for specialty dogs.

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