Tom Penders is the father of a teenager named Becky. She is autistic. She is also many other things.
“She was born with a condition called Bilateral Anophthalmia (born without eyes and optic nerves),” he says. “At 5 she was diagnosed with autism and at 10 years she developed epilepsy. It is a long hard road to try and get her the services so she can do just basic everyday living skills. We struggle with the lack of communication. ”
Becky gets around with trusted service dog and friend Thule, who alerts to epileptic seizures, and she has ongoing support from her parents and those who are familiar with her conditions.
“Becky plays Challenger League baseball, does surfing and Special Olympics swimming”, and Thule has become the teams mascot and given Becky the opportunity for more socialization with other children.
This specially trained service dog has also taken away a huge burden from Tom and his family by enabling them to sleep at night without fear that Becky will go into a seizure without their knowledge.
“Thule has become a member of our family.”
Tom had a frank interview with us about the whole process of training his family and the dog went through and the impact Thule has had on their family. Here is an excerpt of what you will hear on our podcast March 28th:
Listen to the entire interview March 28th.