The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Heartwarming Story: Two Teens, Both with Disabilities, Go to Different High Schools and Had Never Met, Until Their Service Dogs… Brought Them Together

Monday, May 18, 2015

Heartwarming Story: Two Teens, Both with Disabilities, Go to Different High Schools and Had Never Met, Until Their Service Dogs… Brought Them Together

Seniors Delaney Johnson and Nick Ackerman, strangers until a few weeks before their high school proms, both planned to skip the big night–that is, until they and their adorable service dogs Troy and Griffin met. What happened next is something you just have to see for yourself!

The two teens, both with disabilities, go to different high schools and hadn’t even met until their service dogs, in a way, brought them together.

Nick, who has a service dog named Troy, was interviewing Delaney, who has a service dog named Griffin, for a school video project on service dogs.

Making small talk, she asked him, “Are you all geared for prom?” When he told her he had no plans to go to his, she volunteered to go with him. He accepted.
With their service dogs along, they attended his school’s prom, then hers.

A Lansing State Journal columnist and photographer went along .

Delaney, 17, goes to Haslett High School, where, before she got her 2-year-old Dutch shepherd Griffin, she would faint or pass out up to 20 times a day due to narcolepsy.

Between medication and help from Griffin, that condition — and a second neurological condition called cataplexy — have been brought under control.
Her dog acts to distract her if she’s experiencing anxiety and, in case of an attack, he’s trained to stay with her, lying on top of her if she becomes incapacitated so that she feels protected.

“Since I got Griffin, I’ve not had any major cataplexy attacks at all,” said Johnson, a singer and songwriter who plans to take Griffin with her this fall to attend Grand Valley State University. “…He’s my own personal little bodyguard.”

Nick attends Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids, where he’s a champion debater. His service dog Troy helps Nick, who was born without arms, do everything from carrying things to zipping up his coat.

Nick, who plans to attend Eastern Michigan University in the fall, met Delaney two weeks ago, when he interviewed her for a class project on service dogs and the subject of proms came up.

On May 2, they went to his prom. Last Saturday, they went to hers.

The columnist and photographer accompanied the foursome — from home, where they posed for family photos, to a sushi dinner and then to the prom itself.

“I was going to stay home and eat ice cream and watch movies,” Delaney said later. “I’m just so glad I went…It was an amazing time.”









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