"Victory" is Andrew's first dog. She's a sweet, soft, floppy 16-month-old Golden Retriever. She's also the first warning his parents get that Andrew is in trouble.
BRANDON, Fla. - "Jump! Jump! Good girl," said Andrew coaxing "Victory" to put her front paws into his lap.
She is also the first warning his parents get that Andrew is in trouble.
"He trips and falls a lot so if he has a fall, she'll sit right with him and comfort him. Same thing at the doctor's office," said Andrew.
Andrew was born premature and has cerebral palsy. He has seizures too-- the kind that make it hard to breathe when you sleep.
"His seizures all happen at night so he sleeps in our bedroom. He has his own bed in our bedroom so
we can keep an eye on him constantly and it's really terrifying," said Michelle Smith.
"Victory" is a service dog trained by an Ohio non-profit called 4 Paws for Ability. www.4pawsforability.org
The non-profit also places dogs with children and veterans living with disabilities.
The Smith's friends, family and community spent a year raising the $13,000 needed to get a dog into training.
She sleeps with Andrew, senses his seizures and wakes-up Andrew's mom.
"She bumps her in the nose," said Andrew.
"Victory" will also bark and tug so she can make sure Andrew's airway isn't blocked.
The seven-year old Brandon boy says his dog makes nighttime a little less scary.
"She gets it-- she really does," he said.
She also makes playtime a little more fun.
"It's therapy for everybody," explained Andrew's mom.