Bringing a child into the world is exciting and life-changing. Having a baby is mentally and physically taxing, but watching that child learn and grow makes it all worthwhile. Children enjoy running around and playing sports, and physical activity is a vital part of every child’s life. Although most children enjoy a carefree life of play, some children aren’t born with all of these advantages and opportunities.
Life can be extremely difficult for children who are born with a lifelong handicap, and the day-to-day struggles of a young boy named Lucas only allowed him to experience life on the sidelines. Lucas was forever changed when he met his service dog Juno, and slide #4 shows that their relationship is literally a matter of life or death!
12. Lucas Is A Young Boy Who Lives A Difficult Life
Lucas comes from a loving home in Tennessee. His parents are caring and attentive, and they make sure Lucas lives the most comfortable, fulfilling life possible. Unfortunately, they cannot control everything that happens to Lucas. Upon learning of Lucas’s terminal illness, they realized they couldn’t protect their son from everything. His diagnosis was out of their hands, and they were forced to face the reality of his condition.
11. Their Son’s Condition Has No Cure And The Prognosis Was Bleak
Lucas was diagnosed with Sanfilippo syndrome at birth. This genetic condition is severe and quite rare, and it completely controls the lives of those who suffer from it. Sanfilippo syndrome is ultimately fatal, and there is no known cure. This kind of somber situation is any parent’s worst nightmare, and Lucas’s parents had a lot to learn about this debilitating disease.
10. Lucas’ Diagnosis Was A Lot For His Parents To Handle
Chester and Jennifer Hembree were not expecting their bundle of joy to have to fight for his life. Sanfilippo syndrome only affects one out of every 70,000 children, which can be compared to the chances of being struck by lightning. The next slide reveals the symptoms Lucas must deal with on a daily basis, revealing how brave this little boy truly is!
9. His Running List Of Symptoms Is Astounding
It affects many of his body’s major systems such as the brain, central nervous system, ears, joints, and other internal organs. Lucas experiences seizures and low-oxygen levels. His life expectancy is extremely short. Most children born with this condition live to be twelve or fourteen years old. Even so, the parents of Lucas had high hopes that their son would persevere.
8. Lucas’ Condition Worsened As He Got Older
By the time Lucas turned four, he lost the majority of his independence due to his condition. He was confined to a wheelchair and needed the assistance of his parents in order to function on a daily basis. Chester and Jennifer Hembree vowed to give Lucas the best life they could. Slide #3 is the most amazing gift he could ever ask for!
7. His Parents Provided Every Amenity To Make Lucas Comfortable
Lucas began to wear glasses, foot braces, hearing aids, and was provided a feeding tube in order to live as normal of a life as possible. These tools helped the young boy greatly, but his father thought he could use one more method of assistance. Chester Hembree was on the prowl for Lucas’ new companion, and it wasn’t an easy quest.
6. His Father Decided To Find Him The Perfect Companion
Chester Hembree wished to find Lucas a service dog to benefit him in his day-to-day life. Although insurance would not cover the expense and Lucas’ doctors thought his behavioral conditions were too severe to benefit from a canine companion, the Hembrees proceeded with their search to find a suitable match for Lucas. The next slide proves they found more than they could have ever imagined.
5. Juno And Lucas Were A Perfect Pair Immediately
Chester noticed that a rescue organization was looking for a family to adopt a Belgian Malinois dog that was to be euthanized. Lucas’ father was previously in law enforcement and had the skills to train the dog, so he was confident it would work out. Lucas and Juno immediately got along when meeting, and the dog revealed that she was definitely the right choice.
4. Juno Knew Her Purpose Was To Protect Lucas
The pup almost immediately tended to the boy without being trained. Lucas’ oxygen levels reaching a dangerously low level prompted Juno to circle his wheelchair crying until the family realized something was wrong. It became obvious that Juno could pick up on any neurological changes Lucas was experiencing, and she became his saving grace. The next slide proves that Juno is definitely aware of her gifts.
3. Juno Can Even Help To Stop A Seizure
Juno will hold Lucas’ body down if he begins to seize, and she will lick him until he is fully stable. Juno even helps with Lucas’ behavioral problems — an issue doctors thought would prevent Lucas from being successful with a service dog. Juno has the ability to calm Lucas down when he is getting too aggressive. Juno is the best pal that Lucas could ask for, and she has brought Lucas much comfort and happiness.
2. Lucas’ Mobility Has Even Improved — All Thanks To His Puppy Pal
Juno helps Lucas get around by pulling on his wheelchair, and she acts as his support when Lucas attempts to walk. Lucas can now walk up and down the stairs — a feat that seemed impossible before Juno was in the picture. Juno is a true testament to the value of a good, furry friend. She has become an inspiration to service dogs everywhere!
1. Lucas And Juno Have Literally Saved Each Other
Lucas lives a more mobile, healthy life ever since Juno walked into his life, but Juno also owes Lucas and his family a world of thanks. Juno was underweight and living with a death sentence before the Hembrees adopted her, and she was granted a remarkable second chance. Lucas and Juno are the most inspiring duo, and their bond can never be broken.
Man’s best friend has always been known to be courageous, loving, and loyal, but Lucas’ dog Juno takes this stereotype to the next level. Although Lucas has a lot more obstacles to overcome than the average little boy, he has the help of his dog to get him through any problem. Dogs bring their owners joy, in sickness and in health. Share Lucas’ inspiring story to make someone’s day, or comment how your dog shows you some puppy love. Share some pictures of your four-legged friends, and make sure to give them a few extra pets today to show that you care!