Teen Assault Victim Needs Help Paying for Service Dog

Autumn Lightfoot Battles PTSD and Bipolar Disorder

NIANGUA, Mo. -- Service dogs can help people live with a variety of health issues, but only if they can afford one. That’s the problem a local family is having, now asking for the community’s help in paying for their service dog.

Pap Paws in Marshfield took a chance on the family, offering to pay some of the cost of  training the service dog. Now the family is hosting a K9 3K walk in hopes that the community will help them pay off the remainder of the bill, which is about $2,000.

“We just don’t have the money. I’m a school teacher,” Cook said.

All together, it’s a $3,000 investment mom Shannon Cook says will have a priceless impact on her teen’s life.

"My daughter went from being an outgoing girl, who was in the lead in school plays, who was on academic honor rolls and advanced programs in Springfield schools where she got to skip a grade, and then she was assaulted,” Cook said.

Daughter Autumn Lightfoot now battles depression, Bipolar Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Medication after medication landed Lightfoot in the hospital.

"Most of the time, the medication would cause me to have nightmares,” she said. “I would often wake up screaming and crying."

So a service dog was just what the doctor ordered. On June 28, Lightfoot met her playful prescription, Takara.

“It means treasure,” Lightfoot said.

The girls will go through six months of training classes and then individualized sessions to teach Takara to respond to her owner when she has a PTSD episode or bipolar shift. Although she’s still a puppy, she’s already getting the hand of it.

"She can tell when I’m not doing very well,” Lightfoot said. “She’ll just jump on me basically."

The family hopes one day Takara can be Autumn’s guide in life.

"Autumn can't function like most people can,” Cook said.

Lightfoot plans to attend Missouri State University to study veterinary medicine after she graduates next year, but her fear of crowds means the school will be looking at two applicants.

"I think it's kind of like the perfect circle that she wants to be a vet and at the same time, she needs this animal and she needs Takara to achieve that goal,” Cook said.

The K9 3K is scheduled for Aug. 5 at Hidden Waters Nature Park in Marshfield. The family is still looking for sponsors and walkers. The $25 fee includes a t-shirt. The family also has other donation sites set up.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Sutherlands Hardware & Supply
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • CoxHealth - Flu
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Downstream Casino.
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Viewers Club
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Ozarks Professionals - Better Body
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center