East Nashville family raising money for much-needed service dog - WSMV News 4

East Nashville family raising money for much-needed service dog

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For one east Nashville man, a new dog specially trained to meet his medical needs may just save his life, and a fundraiser is now helping to bring him home.

A set of health problems surfaced for Andrew Booker, including epilepsy, Type 1 diabetes and a rare disorder called AAG that impacts his nervous system.

"So all of that, on top of each other, kind of makes this perfect storm of illnesses that make it difficult to take care of myself," Booker said.

All of it limits life for this former police officer trainee who is not yet 30 years old.

"Nine times I've had the, you know, 'You're going to die' talk from a doctor," Booker said. "We just don't believe it anymore. We just refuse."

Last year, Booker's sister suggested he get a service dog, and their search led the Bookers to the group Retrieving Independence, based in Linden.

There, Booker met Rex.

"He and Rex just seemed to hit it off right away," said Karen Langer, with Retrieving Independence. "He's the type of dog that likes to just sit next to you and lean on you. He doesn't require all the attention. He just likes to be close."

That could make the difference. Thanks to training, Rex can tell Booker when his blood sugar runs too low or too high.

And in the case of a seizure, Rex will protect his companion.

"He can actually make sure I get on the ground, roll me over and then lay at my feet or my head and make sure I don't get hurt. And then he'll run around the house and look for help. And if there isn't any, he can actually hit the call button to call 911 for me," Booker said.

The Bookers need to raise $20,000 to bring Rex home, and while they realize they cannot do it alone, they are optimistic they will receive help.

"I used to be a missionary, and I've seen a lot of bad stuff. And there's always someone who has it worse than you, period. No matter how bad you think you've had it," Booker said.

So far, the Bookers have raised $4,000 toward their goal. If you'd like to donate, visit: http://www.servicedogfordrew.com/.

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