Service dogs can be life-changing for people with disabilities. These special dogs provide companionship and also help their owners live their best lives and do incredible things.
Like one loyal golden retriever, who helped his owner take the crown at this year’s Miss Dallas Teen pageant.
Alison Appleby, a 17-year-old from Sherman, Texas, has epilepsy and autism, but didn’t let that stop her from entering this year’s Miss Dallas Teen pageant, although she had never entered one before.
One of her goals was to represent people with disabilities on the pageant stage, proving the naysayers wrong.
“A bystander who was just standing there overhearing our conversation said ‘you can’t do that, because you have a disability, and pageant girls don’t have disabilities,’” Alison recalled to KTEN
.Competing in a pageant was a scary new experience for the teen: she told Fox News Digital that she bought her dresses three days before the pageant and “had no idea what [she] was getting into,” unlike many other beauty queens who spend years prepping.
But thankfully, Alison wasn’t alone — she had a very special companion by her side every step of the way.
That companion was Brady, her golden retriever and service dog in training. Since Alison was diagnosed with epilepsy two years ago, and after requesting a seizure alert dog received Brady in 2021.
Brady will provide invaluable services to Alison: he has been learning to alert others when Alison is having a seizure, and to fetch medicine and snacks when Alison’s blood sugar is low. But on top of that, he’s proven to be a loyal and loving companion.
“He pretty much hasn’t left my side since I got him,” Alison told Fox News Digital. “He’s my best friend, and we are inseparable.”
“I was still terrified the whole time,” Alison said of the pageant experience,” but having Brady by my side made it so much easier.”
“He is my support through it all.”
Alison’s mother Beth Appleby said she was glad her daughter had her service dog by her side: “I wasn’t nervous because she has Brady, who takes good care of her,” she told KTEN.
And despite being a newcomer to the pageant circuit, Alison thrived and won the judges’ hearts with her interview answers.
“Alison really won the entire pageant in interview,” pageant director Jennifer Ortiz told Fox News. “She was just absolutely amazing — the way that she spoke, she was very intelligent, very communicative with our judges.”
“She’s just a phenomenal woman all the way around.”
And in the end, Alison was stunned after she was crowned the winner of the pageant. And not only did the teen receive a crown, but the pageant even got a special crown for Brady!
It made Alison’s victory even sweeter to share the moment with her loyal dog: “When they crowned Brady, my heart sunk — my heart absolutely melted,” she told Fox News.
After her win, Alison will compete in the Miss Texas Teen pageant next May. When she’s not doing pageants, Alison is giving back through philanthropic work: an archer for the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program, Alison competes in a team that raises money for cancer patients. She also volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association.
And in winning the Miss Dallas Teen pageant, Alison was a role model for teens with disabilities, proving that anything is possible.
“Don’t let your setbacks make you give up on your dreams,” she said. “You don’t have to give up on life just because you have an illness.”
What an inspiring story — congrats to Alison and her loyal dog Brady on this incredible victory.
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