Having to live with a disability is extremely difficult for most people. But thank God we have service dogs to help these people with their daily activities. In Davenport, Iowa, a then 17-year-old boy named Tyler Gerdts has shown the world how much a service pup can change a person’s life.
Tyler has been diagnosed with autism. He was born with a damaged frontal lobe, which made him a little different from the other kids at Davenport West High School. But despite what Tyler had to live with his entire life, he lives an active lifestyle. He was even part of a cross country team.
His trusty service dog, Hugo, was with him every step of the way. Tyler’s mom, Kelley Gerdts, shared that before the German shepherd came into Tyler’s life, her son rarely spoke to anybody. But because of Hugo, not only does Tyler interact with other people, he even expresses emotions in the tone of his voice, especially when talking to his service pup.
Kelley never imagined how much Hugo changed her son’s life; that’s why she is very thankful for the little furball. As an official service dog, Hugo is part of Tyler’s high school. He is also the second canine in the entire country to compete in sports for high school students.
Understandably, Tyler and Hugo have never won any race. But just the fact that they’re in it is already a victory. Not just for them, but for everyone cheering them on. They even get louder cheers from the crowd compared to the race leaders, and every clap and word of encouragement fuels Tyler to do his best.
His personal best is 28 minutes and 11 seconds on a five-kilometer course. Remember the cliché that says, “winning is not important?” This is the perfect situation to apply it to, and the cross country is just the start for Tyler and Hugo. The teen has been practicing to become part of their school’s marching band, and of course, Hugo is expected to be part of it, too.
Credits: USA TODAY