Soldier the Service Dog Gets His Close-Up in Texas HS Yearbook - NBC New York
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Finding Forever Homes Across the Country on Aug. 19, 2017

Soldier the Service Dog Gets His Close-Up in Texas HS Yearbook

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    Soldier, a service dog for a student at Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth, is included in the students' yearbook. (Published Friday, May 19, 2017)

    To see Kathryn Campbell smile, you'd have to look into her past. The once active, talkative little girl started having seizures at the age of ten.

    "She has since lost her ability to speak with us, and she doesn't smile very much anymore," said her mother, Kim Campbell. "We have lost that outgoing little girl, and that has been absolutely the most difficult part."

    Bringing comfort to the whole family is Kathryn's best friend, Soldier.

    "He's a goofball, and he's a big old scaredy cat. He eats socks, which is his absolute worst habit," Kim Campbell said.

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    Soldier is Kathryn's service dog. Together, they attend Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth. He's by her side constantly — even in the school yearbook.

    But his presence is for more than just comfort.

    "He can smell the differences in her body before the seizures actually happen," her mother said.

    His alerts range from licking to pawing and barking, and they give Kathryn's caregivers an average 45-minute warning before a seizure occurs.

    "Every seizure is life-threatening," said Kathryn's nurse, Samantha Stringer.

    Stringer said she uses the extra warning time to prepare oxygen and rescue meds.

    When she jumps into action, Soldier waits. He's always on alert, and he's always by Kathryn's side—through everything.

    As high school freshmen they went to homecoming together—and then prom.

    Soldier is an active member of Kathryn's classroom, so when it came to student picture day, Soldier took part.

    "There's lots of kids rolling through, it's like, 'Hey! Here's a dog, okay good,'" said photographer Jared Pyfer, who captured Soldier's student ID picture.

    Soldier is not only featured in an article with Kathryn in the yearbook, he also has his own picture, alongside the other students.

    Because of his name's first letter, S, Kathryn's sister separates them in the row of pictures. But Soldier is close by—just like always.

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    "I think it commemorates their bond that they have. They get to go through all of this together," student Amanda Barber said.

    Soldier is a proud student with a life-saving sense of smell and enough love to give anyone who needs some comfort.

    "Every life matters and everyone that walks into this school matters," Stringer said. "Even a dog's life can make an impact of life and death, and I think that's amazing."

    "He's a blessing, all the way around," said Kim Campbell said.

    More than 53,000 pets were adopted through the 2016 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.