Henderson mother shares struggle to support service dog, family pet

8 News Now
8 News Now

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Henderson mother shared her struggle with 8 News Now as she attempts to maintain the family dog as her service animal.


Alyssa Pfotenhauer said her world changed when she had baby Atlas, who quickly required all her attention when he began to have seizures.

“I’m so grateful that I can be home with him but it’s not the situation you envision being a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “He initially started with about 8 a day, then a dozen then 20. Then when it went up to 40 a day we knew something was wrong. We’ve been to the E.R. several times and out of state.”

To help care for the baby, CC the family dog was trained to become a service dog.

She said CC helped her when Atlas would need special attention.

“She is seven but because she was so bonded and alert to him, a trainer came over and said we can help you. She will be able to get tunned in with commands like ‘go blue’ and she runs next to Atlas, lays down, and provides deep pressure therapy,” Pfotenhauer added.

However, keeping the family pet has proven to be more of a financial burden than expected.

While her husband works full time, she said the cost to keep CC trained became challenging with only one income. With no other option, she turned to the online community for help and the love quickly began to pour in.

“I was like Woah! There are people out there listening and sharing our story. It really has made a huge difference,” she said.

Pfotenhauer said between the hospital and other medical bills, their debt is growing.

She said she decided to share her story to inspire other families in similar situations to not be ashamed and ask for help.

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Debra Pellersels

Life can get really tough sometimes and a service dog or emotional support animal can be a life saver. I had a little dog that alerted me to breast cancer. They are amazing


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