A Service Dog for Gracie: Community rallies around Pineville girl

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“There was a lot of psychological things going on with Gracie that it was at a point we weren’t able to help her,” explained Pineville mother Danea Key.

Gracie Bowman was diagnosed with autisum, depression and anxiety early on in life.
In the sixth grade, one of Gracie’s science teachers had a service dog and noticed Gracie was interacting well with the dog.

The teacher decided once it was old enough to breed, she would give Gracie one of the puppies for free.

“We were beyond blessed to even hear that,” Key continued. “That was really hard because service dogs are very expensive”

After waiting two years for the puppy to be born, Gracie named him “Life-Saver.”

“One day, she came to me and was like, ‘Mom, what do you think about Light Saber?’ and she was like, ‘The reason I said that because I feel he is going to be my light saver.'”

Last weekend at Jesse James Days in Pineville, the mother-daughter duo sold homemade dog treats, dog toys, leashes and other dog supplies to raise money to be able to train the puppy as a service dog.

Fundraising at the event gave Gracie and her family the opportunity to teach others how important the connection is between a person and their service animal.

“My bond with him is like seeing a whole candy store and just going up and grabbing all the candy. He’s just a big miracle in one,” Bowman explained.

Lessons have started for the puppy, and one day Gracie will be able to bring the animal with her everywhere she goes.

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