Meet Lego, the Service Dog Who Chases Away Nightmares for a 3-Year-Old Boy With Autism
"[Lego] helps him to settle when he starts to get restless in his sleep. He climbs up and he cuddles up to him," said Tupper's mom.
Some dogs chase balls and others chase cars, but this furry friend spends his time chasing away nightmares for a young Canadian boy with autism.
3-year-old Tupper from Winnipeg, Manitoba, has always had trouble sleeping at night.
"He's never really slept well from birth," his mom, Nancy Dunlop, told InsideEdition.com. "He's always been very restless. Staying asleep and getting to sleep [is difficult for him]."
In turn, his parents would have to take turns calming his nerves throughout the night. According to Bunlop, the toddler would wake up every 20 to 40 minutes, thrashing and screaming.
But since Lego, a yellow Labrador, joined the family earlier this year as a service dog, everything changed for little Tupper.
"[Lego] sleeps with Tupper," his mom said. "He helps him to settle when he starts to get restless in his sleep. He climbs up and he cuddles up to him."
His mom said the dog will often rest his head on the boy's body, which often helps little Tupper feel grounded or stabilized. The physical contact also helps stimulate the boy's endorphins and serotonin, which helps him get back to sleep.
"It helps us all to be able to stay in bed," his mom joked.
But, Bunlop said Lego has been an improvement to the toddler's life overall.
"Lego has just been a calming effect on Tupper," Dunlop said. "Instead of screaming and running around constantly, he's much quieter, he's calmer, and he's able to sit and focus."
When Tupper needs to concentrate, the dog often sits underneath the table, where Tupper can rub his feet against his fur as stimulation.
If Tupper is upset, Lego is right there to distract him by bringing him a toy or rubbing against him: "[Lego] helps engage him, which will often break that cycle."
His mom also said Tupper still has a hard time noticing danger, and often tries to run off in the middle of a crowded mall, or a busy street.
"We couldn't go for a walk or to the store," his mom said. "He'll be pulling his hand out of mine and running with no fear or concern."
But, she explained Lego's harness has a handle for Tupper to hold, and for some reason, Tupper rarely lets go.
"Lego is allowing us to go out and do things we didn't do as a family," she said.
To help the family raise money for Lego's ongoing training, visit their GoFundMe page.
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