CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three-year-old Keegan Cribb has autism and is non-verbal. His family wanted to get him a service dog, but couldn't afford one. An effort to raise money through a GoFundMe was unsuccessful. Now, Carolina Goldens, a local organization that breeds and trains service dogs has donated a golden retriever puppy who will grow up with Keegan and train to be a service dog.
It was an emotional scene for Keegan and his mother Deidra as Keegan's face lit up when he saw the dog.
"I can already see it's going to be amazing," Deidra told FOX 46. "The dog just got here and he's sat down more in the last hour than he has ever."
The dog, a golden retriever who Deidra says they've decided to call "Star," is a gift from Danielle and Randy Scruggs, who run Carolina Goldens. The couple donates one puppy out of every litter to someone in need.
"This is the start of him having, you know, a pal, a friend," said Danielle. "But also someone that will love him."
Deidra says she can barely describe what it was like to be surprised with the dog they had needed.
"I was just… inside like, it was going crazy," she said. "Because I know what this will do for him."
Randy says that kind of reaction makes the work they do worthwhile.
"My heart is overflowing right now because, just to see the reaction of this little young fella," he said. "I know that his future is going to be different."