Big turnout for benefit to help 2 children who need service dogs

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – A big crowd has turned out for a spaghetti dinner today to raise money for two service dogs for Albion children. In the top photo, Ryan Orr, 8, holds a button with a picture of Kenai, the service dog that will help detect unpredictable seizures for his brother Tyler, who has juvenile diabetes.

Ruth Miller, lower right, fills to-go containers with salad. She is next to Angel Smith, a veterinary technician with Country Lane Veterinary in Barre.

The dinner started at 4:30 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Albion. Organizers have enough food for 600 meals. There are also 80 gift baskets that were donated.

Kristin Ferris is pictured with her daughter Abby, 6, who has epilepsy. The family has a black lab named Molly, which is being trained as a seizure response dog.

Molly will be trained to observe Abby for seizures. If Abby is having one, the dog will be trained to go paw at one of her parents.

“We are very grateful to the community for their support,” Kristin said.

Iva McKenna checks on the meatballs and sauce with Tony Cassidy. McKenna and her family own Country Lane Veterinary Services. They organized the benefit today.

“When you hear kids are having a hard time you want to help out,” she said. “Kids and dogs is a perfect match for us. It’s awesome that animals can do things that machines can’t.”

Jennifer Orr is pictured with her son Ryan. The family is trying to raise money for an alert dog for Tyler, 9. He is feeling sick today and stayed home. Jennifer’s friend Denise Bedford of Lockport is selling raffle tickets.

The Orrs are selling bracelets, pins and buttons. They marveled at the long line when the dinner started.

“The support is overwhelming and very humbling,” Jennifer said. “Everything is huge from this tiny town.”