Topeka Boy Receives New Service Dog Thanks To Community Help

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) Its been 1 year since Shawnee Heights Elementary student, 11-year-old Alex White's service dog, "Hope", was hit by a car and killed.

"I'm still wishing it never happened. I'm still having a few flashbacks sometimes. Its still been hard to not have a dog helping me," says Alex.

"There are times he wanted to be dead just with Hope because he felt so bad about it," said Alex's mother, Mari White.

Alex has hereditary spastic paraplegia, an inherited disease that causes progressive weakness to his lower limbs. Last year, Alex's classmate, Saige Halseth, started a fundraising campaign for Alex to get a new service dog. With the community's help, she raised $33,000.

"We are so thankful to the community," says Mari.

"He's just my friend and I wanted to help him because I know he would need it for the future," said Saige back in March 2013.

After one long year of looking for a dog with a personality that meshes with Alex, the Kansas Specialty Dog Service introduced Alex to his new service dog, Redondo.

"So far, he is really helpful. I have someone who can help me when I need it," says Alex, smiling.

"And they have really hit it off! It is a great personality match," says Mari.

"I was shocked to see how well they match. They just go together so well. We're pretty ecstatic," says Alex's father, Ray White.

From here on out, Alex looks forward to laughs and smiles with his new best friend.

"So we can have happy times now. He is pretty much apart of the family," Alex laughs as he pets Redondo.

Alex will bring Redondo to school Monday for the first time.

The White family has used the money raised towards starting a "Hope Scholarship Fund" to help other children battling hereditary spastic paraplegia with their expenses for specialty dogs.

alex and hope web

Alex White and Hope (photo submitted by the White family)

alex white and saige halseth

Alex White and friend Saige Halseth posed at an April 2013 fundraiser she organized to help her friend get a new service dog.

23 march alex and rodondo

Alex White and Redondo bond during a walk at Lake Shawnee on Sunday, March 23, 2014. (WIBW)


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