8-year-old struggles after death of service dog - WSMV Channel 4

8-year-old struggles after death of service dog

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Barrett Ruck, 8, is autistic, but that is only the beginning of his medical problems. His mother, Tammy Ruck, said her son can be in medical distress at any time.

"Along with that autism, he has ADHD-type behavior. He was also born with two congestive heart defects, and he has a history of seizures," she said.

Barrett would often go through bouts of rage. Through it all, a highly-trained service dog, a Bouvier De Flandres named Zach, was a constant lifeline.

"The dog is trained in deep pressure therapy. He would come and get on top of Barrett, put his arm on him, and press down on him. Autistic children find that calming," Ruck said.

The most valuable service Zach would perform was when he slept with Barrett during the night.

"Barrett was prone to medical distress. With Zach in Barrett's room, he would alert us when Barrett was having a medical emergency by barking," Ruck said.

One thing Zach could not control was an illness that suddenly took his life in July.

"We spent about $3,000 in medical bill trying to get Zach better. It wasn't enough. He wasn't able to recover from it," Ruck said.

Now, the Rucks face an uphill battle financially trying to replace Zach.

"It's $12,000 to buy a service dog. They were going to give us $6,000 off of that. We will also need an additional $2,000 to cover out of town training expenses for nine days," Ruck said.

To help the Ruck family raise the funds needed to buy Barrett a new autism service dog, visit: http://www.barrettsdog.com.

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