Boy In Need Of Seizure Dog

August 31, 2020

An Old Saybrook woman reached new heights this month, climbing the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Mount Washington. But Paige Marinelli’s path to topping more than 6,200 feet was even more impressive because of whom she climbed for and what she’s been through.

“There was a point where I would’ve never been able to do that,” Paige said.

Paige, now 26, was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 10. After college, her seizures got worse so at 23, she chose to have surgery.

“I had four craniotomies in a month, and they removed a piece of my brain that was causing seizures, and I’ve been seizure free for over thee years,” she told News 12. The recovery was long, but worth it. “My life has improved so much.”

That made Paige want to help others struggling with their health. In January, she began leading an epilepsy support group, which Trumbull mom Jennifer Colello joined a few months later.

Jennifer’s 5-year-old son Andrew loves, puppies, wrestling, and superheroes–plus anything his big brother, Trey, does. Andrew has epilepsy, with seizures that increased in intensity this year. He also was born with the most severe form of spina bifida.

“He had to have a lesion, a very large lesion, closed on his spine at just a day old,” explained Jennifer.

Andrew uses a walker, wears ankle-foot orthotics, and does physical therapy four times a week. His parents always dreamed of another form of help–a service dog trained to detect seizures.

“A dog would be able to give him the independence to sleep on his own,” said Jennifer. “It would be able to alert us to things I’m sure we’re already probably missing.”

A dog would also help with Andrew’s stability while walking, but it wasn’t an option right now.

“Knowing how expensive they were, we never thought we’d be able to afford it on our own,” Andrew’s dad, Richard Colello, said.

Then, came a plan from the young woman who’d become a source of support for Jennifer in recent months.

“I got a phone call from Paige saying, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to climb Mount Washington. I want to do this for Andrew, I want to do this in Andrew’s honor.”

Paige would climb for a cause, raising money to get Andrew his dog.

“Here she is a mom–just like my mom–going through raising a child with epilepsy. How could I not extend my heart to her?” Paige told News 12.

“I was just like dumbfounded in the beginning,” remembered Jennifer. “It seemed too good to be true.”

The fundraising campaign quickly reached–then surpassed its goal. It was up to $24,000 when Paige and her team set off from the base of Mount Washington on Aug. 15.

“It was exhausting and challenging, but it was so worth it in every way,” Paige said. “It was really beautiful and meaningful, and I guess every step meant something. When I did get to the top, I sat down and I had this moment of ‘look at what we just did?!'”

Paige said Andrew was there with her in spirit the entire way up. He was also there in-person at the bottom of the mountain. The Colellos made the drive up to New Hampshire to celebrate Paige completing the climb.

“We had flowers ready for her. Andrew gave them to her,” said Jennifer.

“It was definitely a moment of connection and everyone was just so happy. There’s definitely no question about us being friends for life now,” Paige said.

“I cannot thank her enough for the gift she gave us and our family. Andrew’s going to grow by leaps and bounds with this service puppy. I truly believe that,” Richard told News 12.

The Colellos have been accepted into a service dog program for 2022. Jennifer says it’s a little ways off, but it will be worth the wait. As for Paige, she plans to continue to be an advocate for people with epilepsy and do a new challenge every year to raise money and awareness.

  • Most Recent News

    Helping Vets And Pets

    December 4, 2020

    AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR Phyllis Limbacher Tildes always had a soft spot for those in need, and when she saw a video of rescued shelter pets being trained to help veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she felt compelled to give back. This burning desire helped inspire her to create a project she calls “Art […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Community

    December 4, 2020

    No longer will emotional support animals be considered service animals. A service animal is defined only as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” That means “emotional support” peacocks, pigs and horses will no longer be able to fly. For Kelly […]

    Read more

    Health Wellness For Dogs

    December 4, 2020

    As humans, we’re increasingly taking care of our health and wellbeing in holistic ways – and now, it’s the same when it comes to our dog. Subsequently, a growing market of pet treatments, therapies and supplements are now available meaning our pampered pooches have never had it so good. “Dog owners consider their dogs as […]

    Read more

    Power Of Dogs

    December 4, 2020

    It’s been a difficult year for non-profit. Many rely on big gatherings and fundraisers to create the profit they need to keep the organization running. The same goes for Project 2 Heal, a Waxhaw non-profit, who works to raise puppies to become service animals. Project 2 Heal are believers in that a dig is a […]

    Read more

    Paws With A Cause

    December 4, 2020

     The Department of Transportation has ruled that airlines will no longer allow Emotional Support Animals on airplanes. Local assistance dog organization, Paws With A Cause, explains what this ruling means for them. Paws With A Cause, based in Wayland, custom-trains Assistance Dogs for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines an Assistance Dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Jax

    December 4, 2020

    After every home game, Chandler head football coach Rick Garretson meets his wife, Wendy, and his kids at the north end zone at Austin Field. It’s there he greets his family and takes the leash of his German shepherd, Jax, who is a certified therapy dog. The two then walk toward the team huddle where […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Training

    December 4, 2020

    Do you love dogs and want to do a bit of good for the world at the same time? Now’s your time to shine. Southeastern Guide Dogs a non-profit organization that trains dogs to assist veterans and those with disabilities, is looking for a few willing volunteers to raise puppies for 12-18 months. Here’s how […]

    Read more

    Raising Money For Service Dog

    December 4, 2020

    One Somerset family is expressing their gratitude for their local community, which has come together to help them make life better and safer for two of their children. Brothers Dylan, 13, and Chase, 12, are the sons of Jami Johnson. Both were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum as toddlers. And while the family […]

    Read more

    Guide Dogs

    December 4, 2020

    A yellow Labrador retriever named Paul was born to be a Southeastern Guide Dogs superhero, but as fate would have it, that wasn’t to be. Barely out of puppyhood, the 30-month-old dog spent his formative months like every future guide dog, living for his first year or so with puppy raisers, and then heading back […]

    Read more

    Wavely The Therapy Dog

    December 4, 2020

    or students stressed about tough classes or feeling anxious during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tupelo High School’s new therapy dog in training – a goldendoodle named Wavely – will be there to help. Anne Marie Goad, a special education teacher and MET Chair at the high school, had the notion to get a therapy dog for […]

    Read more

    More Recent News