Dumpster dog saves a child

He has a name now, but when Jack was rescued from a dumpster he was just an abandoned, flea-covered, nearly dead hound. A shelter cleaned him up, fed and doctored him, and put him in a cage to await adoption.

That’s when little Maya Pieters met Jack.

It isn’t easy to be a child with a rare disease. Congenital bilateral perisylvian syndrome has less than 200 diagnosed victims worldwide. Maya’s speech and swallowing were affected. Doctors warned she could have seizures.

Other children shied away from Maya, who became so shy she would not respond to her speech therapist. That’s when the therapist suggested a dog.

The dog and Maya had to be a good fit. Finding the right dog took an entire year. One day Maya knelt beside a cage in an animal shelter. Jack stretched his head toward her and happily licked her face. For Maya and Jack, it was love at first lick.

The two became fast friends. One night Jack suddenly awoke and ran up the stairs to Maya’s room. He clawed and barked until the Pieters came running. They found Maya asleep but in the throes of her first seizure.

There have been other seizures since then. Jack senses them before they start. He catches her fall, sits on her to help still her body, notifies the family, and licks her face when she wakes up. Thanks to Jack, Maya is a more confident child.

It’s been three years since the story first broke. Understandably, the Pieters have not kept their life in the limelight. But the story lives on because of the Web, a tribute to the mighty heart of a little dog.

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