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A little help from man’s best friend

Judy Moore-Padgett of Canine Assistants (left) presents Alex Carion, 13, with a T-shirt to commemorate him receiving an assistance dog. Carion, who has a congenital brain disorder will spend two weeks in Atlanta training with his dog.    - Photo by Sean Janssen
Judy Moore-Padgett of Canine Assistants (left) presents Alex Carion, 13, with a T-shirt to commemorate him receiving an assistance dog. Carion, who has a congenital brain disorder will spend two weeks in Atlanta training with his dog.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Janssen

Canine Assistants will lend a helping paw to Alex Carion, a 13-year-old diagnosed with cerebellarhypoplasia.

Alex was born with the disorder, a congenital brain defect, which affects his balance and speech abilities.

“His reading is slower. Speech is slower,” said his father, Lt. Brian Carion. “He has to think, ‘Right hand, throw ball.’”

“The dog is going to be (his) independence,” Lt. Carion said. The service dog will allow him to do more things on his own at school and in everyday life and improve his mobility, the child’s father said.

Formal announcement of the family’s acceptance to the Canine Assistants program took place June 30 at the Naval Station Kitsap Bremerton Commissary. Representatives of the program sponsored by Milk-Bone dog biscuits and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) were present along with Tom, a representative service dog that travels around the country.

Tom displayed to attendees his obedience and helpfulness, picking up dropped keys for Canine Assistants recipient services coordinator Judy Moore-Padgett.

“We are proud to participate in this program...and with this community,” said Ho Lee, DeCA Commissary Officer.

“Dogs really change lives. It’s not just a dog, it’s a part of the family,” Moore-Padgett said. “Having a dog boosts (recipients’) confidence.”

Alex’s mother, Kellie Carion, found out about the program soon after receiving a denial letter from another organization.

While on vacation at Disneyland, she saw another mother with her son and a service dog. Carion asked about their process of getting a dog and the woman gave her a flier from Canine Assistants.

“They were actually looking for military families in this area,” Carion said.

The family was approved in a month after looking into programs where it may have taken as long as five years to get a dog.

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