Antonio Reese was only nine-years-old when he was the victim of a drive-by shooting on his way to a family dinner. The young boy was shot in the back of the head while riding in his family’s car in March 2015 near Lexington, Kentucky. Antonio’s spent 18 days in a coma and suffered a traumatic brain injury. His mom, Tara Murillo, told WKYT that the child suffers seizures and memory loss as a result.
It Takes A Village
As Antonio awaited his fifth brain surgery in April 2016, his mom was busy trying to fundraise money for his first service dog.
“We’re going to be doing a yard sale and a bake sale to help raise money. We need a fenced back yard for the dog. That’s a requirement for the dog, to have a fenced backyard,” Murillo told WKYT at the time.
The community successfully came together and raised thousands of dollars to help Antonio get his service dog.
Alice joined the family and is working hard to give Antonio some of his childhood back. Antonio is now 13-years-old but he continues to deal with the residual effects of his TBI from four years ago.
Alice goes with Antonio everywhere and she has never missed alerting him to one of his seizures.
Antonio’s mom told Lex18, “She has given me a tremendous feeling of safety. When you have a child that’s so fragile like Antonio is, but it’s truly an invisible disability, everything that he’s going through, from his TBI to his seizures. It truly is an invisible disability and people don’t know it.”
A Four-Legged Hero With A Supernatural Sense
By being aware of an upcoming seizure, Antonio is able to take precautions to prevent an injury. This heroic dog’s job is so important because half of Antonio’s skull is artificial. Because of this, a seizure could be fatal.
Alice has been nominated for the American Humane Hero Dog Award- an annual competition where dogs are recognized across the nation for doing extraordinary things. There are seven categories:
- Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs
- Service Dogs
- Therapy Dogs
- Military Dogs
- Search and Rescue Dogs
- Guide/Hearing Dogs
- Shelter Dogs
Sweet Alice is currently a finalist in the Service Dog category!
A Round of A-Paws
The winner from each category gets to walk the red carpet with their human family in Hollywood. These well-deserving pups are the guests of honor at the annual gala and they even get to rub-paws with celebrities! Judges include advocates, athletes, authors, and even television personalities like Erik Estrada and Danielle Fishel.
Round three of voting is open until September 9th. You can help Alice become a nationally recognized hero by voting daily here.
Featured Photo: Facebook – Lex18 News
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