MIDDLEBURY  A four-legged friend from South Bend is giving a young girl and her family, hope.
Six-year-old Kylie Gibbons was born with a disease that causes her to have random seizures, making it very difficult for her parents to monitor her conditions.
But now, a new family pet may put her parents at ease. Kylie's parents hope a new dog will become their daughter's best friend and companion.
The dog, Miles, will spend every moment next to Kylie.
After a 12-hour drive from St. Paul, Minn., Neil and Maria Gibbons had one thing on their mind when they arrived in Middlebury.
They wanted to bring home a new companion for their daughter, Kylie.
"This will basically be our fourth kid now,” said Kylie’s father, Neil. “It will be a good new addition."
But the family didn't need a normal puppy.
Kylie has tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow in various organs in her body.
Kylie experiences seizures as a side effect of the disease.
“We found Miles, we knew we needed a very special dog that loved kids, and was very gentle and even-tempered," said Mark Halasz from Midwest Assistance Dogs.
Halasz discovered Miles from a South Bend rescue organization.
Miles will be Kylie's right-hand dog, keeping her in control of her surroundings.
“He will help keep her safe when we're out in public, just to keep her by us," said Maria Gibbons, Kylie’s mother.
Kylie's parents decided to tether the two together in the early stages to help them get better acquainted with each other. Therefore, Miles will learn from Kylie and Kylie will learn from him.
“Not only can the dog help the child with the physical challenges but also emotionally and psychologically,” Halasz said.
Halasz said Kylie will eventually start to give Miles commands just like any little kid would do with his or her dog.
When Miles responds, Kylie's confidence will improve, strengthening her cognitive skills.
“We train the dog with the anticipation that it will detect a seizure,” said Halasz. “We hope that it will detect a seizure."
Maria says this will give her and her husband peace.
Kylie's family applied to the Midwest Assistance Dogs program more than a year ago.
“A lot of agencies won't work with a child that young," said Karen Ueland, Kylie’s grandmother.
And that's why the Gibbonses landed here in Indiana.
Halasz has been pairing people with dogs since 1987.
But in the past few years, he has specialized in finding the perfect four-legged match for children who need help.
“We’ve already noticed in the past day, it's helping her a lot already," said Neil.
This process takes quite a long time because the assistance program needs to find the right dog.
The Gibbons family waited about a year and a half before Miles came along.
In this case, they needed a dog that loves children, but also one that could train and work with a child who has seizures.