Rescue Dog Brings Joy to a Dying Boy

January 29, 2012 by Jillian at Tails in Featured, Home with 0 Comments
Lucas and Juno

Photo credit: Hembree Family / Vetstreet.com

Many TAILS readers know first-hand that rescue dogs are a breed of their own. Their overwhelming love, grace and loyalty is second to none. It is as if they are paying it forward for the second chance at life they were granted.

This is most definitely the case when it comes to a rescued Belgian Malinois named Juno who has enthusiastically taken up the job of providing love, joy, assistance and comfort to a dying boy.

When four-year-old Lucas Hembree was diagnosed with a terminal illness that will prevent him from ever reaching his sixteenth birthday, his parents Chester and Jennifer were determined to give their beloved child as much joy and life experiences as they could during his precious, fleeting moments here on earth.

According to MSNBC.com, Lucas suffers from Sanfilippo syndrome, an inherited, metabolic disease caused by the absence or malfunctioning of an enzyme needed to break down long sugar molecules. As the disease progresses, children lose the ability to speak, walk and eat. The disease also causes severe neurological damage that leads to aggressive behavior, hyperactivity and seizures.

Lucas’ father Chester started looking into therapy dogs when the disease began to take a toll on his son’s joints. He knew his family couldn’t afford the $15,000 price tag that comes along with a service dog, so he began looking in another direction.

Prayer and persistence led Chester to Juno after seeing a posting on a rescue site.

Chester was familiar with the Belgian Malinois breed because of his work in law enforcement. He had helped train police dogs and he knew of the Belgian Malinois’ strong work ethic and incredible drive.

Lucas and Juno

Photo credit: Hembree Family / Vetstreet.com

His gut instinct told him that he had to meet Juno, who was emaciated and scheduled to be euthanized at a Tennessee shelter.

Chester packed up the entire family and drive more than two hours to the Shelter to meet Juno. The family adopted Juno and showered him will love and affection.

Juno took to Lucas immediately and the two became best friends.

While Chester did conduct some formal training with Juno, it was really his instincts that made him a great companion for Lucas.

He has alerted the family when Lucas’ oxygen levels have been low and has saved him several times.

While Juno has become a literal shoulder for Lucas to lean on, it’s the rescue dog’s constant love and affection that has brought joy and hope to Lucas and his family.

You can send Lucas a message and learn more about him via his Facebook page that his father maintains.

Our hearts go out to Lucas, Juno, and their family. May doctors and scientists find a cure for Lucas’ disease so that he may enjoy life with his beloved pal Juno.

May every person know the love and companionship a rescue dog can bring.





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