UIW Cardinals for Kids brings service dog, teen together

Service dog trained for 13-year-old with spina bifida

SAN ANTONIOKSAT first introduced you to a special teenager and his service dog back in March.

Now, this black lab is helping him in a big way. Bleux may only be 6-months-old, but this service dog has an important job ahead of him.

His owner, 13-year-old Josh Bratton, was diagnosed with spina bifida, requiring him to use a wheelchair.

Once Bleux gets his basic obedience down, he'll be responsible for caring for Josh in most every way possible.

"The retrieval drive is going to help him when he needs items retrieved from any other rooms in the house, when he drops things," said Allen Hanauer, Bluex's trainer from BarkSA.

Thanks to the University of the Incarnate Word's Cardinal for Kids, Josh and Bleux have been together for the past six months. Bleux's service training will take about three years to complete.

Holden Labradors donated the black lab for Josh, and Bleux is being trained by BarkSA at no cost to the family.

According to the trainer, once Bleux  is fully grown, he'll learn to pull Josh's wheelchair and even help him get up if he falls.

"As far as momentum pulling, and things of that sort we have to wait for the growth plates of the dog to close, once they close then we can have him start pulling the wheel chair, lift josh up, bracing, things of that sort," said Hanauer.

And Josh may be soft spoken, but his eyes and smile show the world just how his four-legged friend has changed his life forever.

"I'm speechless right now, I don't know," said Bratton. UIW's Cardinal for Kids hopes to give another service dog to another child in October.