For boy with rare disorder, service dog could mean life or death

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 22, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 22 at 6:59 PM

LYNDEN, Wash. - Wesley Logston needs a dog this Christmas. And for the 2-year-old, it could be a matter of life and death.

In May, Wesley was diagnosed with an extremely rare movement disorder called Dystonia. It causes his muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily.

There is no cure.  The left side of Wesley's face sags intermittently and he sometimes drags the left side of his body.

"Our doctors relate it to having a Charlie horse all over your body," says Breanna Logston.

On a few occasions, Wesley stopped breathing.

But doctors gave the toddler a special prescription. A service dog that can alert family when Wesley stops breathing.

"The dogs are trained to help diabetics but it's perfect for Wesley," says Logston.

But such highly trained dogs can cost up to $17,000, and there often are long waiting lists or training required. A dog owner in Seattle could be willing to give the Logstons a service dog for free, but it would still need about $4,000 in training.

With word of the Logstons' problem, the community is rallying behind the family. Wesley's grandparents have organized a holiday house benefit tour to help raise money.

Luckily they're friends with the family who owns a 25,000 square-foot house once owned by Randy Bachman of the The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

In a matter of days, 250 people have purchased tickets for three tours of the house on Wednesday night.

"It's amazing to see the community come together like this," says Don Mergens, Wesley's grandfather. "And to be at this historic house is something else."

It may be enough money to buy the service dog Wesley needs.

"We are so blessed," says Logston. "This will change our lives forever."

The tour is Wednesday, Dec. 22. People will leave by bus from the former Cost Cutter parking lot at 19th and Front streets at 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tour tickets are $10 per person or $25 per family. Buy tickets: Call 360-354-1985.

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