Local family raising funds for a service dog - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Local family raising funds for a service dog

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Riley Miano is an 11-year-old girl who loves Star Wars, Legos, and her pet rabbit named Nutmeg. She has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as A.D.H.D. She also suffers from heightened anxiety. 

Riley and her parents, Stacie and Jacob, have been raising funds for the last four months to bring a special service dog into their lives. Bridger is a Briard who is being specially trained by a non-profit in North Carolina to work specifically with Riley.

Stacie says, "The dog will help with the anxiety of being in her room that hopefully will comfort her in the way they explained to me that he should. And she'll be OK to be in there and not worry about 'what's gonna happen in my bedroom?'"

Riley's symptoms were first diagnosed when she was 5-years-old and her Kindergarten teacher recommended she be evaluated. Riley was found to have high functioning A.D.H.D. She has difficulty making social connections with other children and her mom says she gets picked on a lot.

Riley regularly receives counseling, therapy, and sees a pediatric psychologist for her prescriptions. She is currently on 8 medications, 4 of which are narcotics. For Jacob and Stacie, deciding to medicate their daughter was not an easy choice. But Riley's mom says simply taking her off the medication is not an option.

"It's hard because you get judged a lot," she says, "And that's why sometimes when I go to schools I don't tell them right away that she's taking all that because I don't want them to look for something to pick on her about. If she acts out I don't want them to be like 'she has A.D.H.D. she doesn't know how to control herself' when that's not necessarily the case."

The family has raised a little over $13,000 for Bridger, they just have another $1,400 to go. The funds will go towards paying for the service dog and its' training. So far, they've had two silent auctions with items donated from a number of local businesses, Stacie shaved her head to raise a thousand dollars, and the family also has a GoFundMe page to help the efforts. 

Now, they've partnered up with the Mountain Mudd Espresso Stand at 16 Shiloh Road to do another small fundraiser next week. From June 18th to June 20th, the coffee stand will be collecting donations for the Miano family. This will be the only Mountain Mudd location collecting funds.

The Miano's hope that Bridger will give Riley a sense of companionship and comfort, leading her to be more confident and independent.

If you would like to donate to their GoFundMe account, click here.

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