WALKER, LA (WAFB) - If there was ever any doubt in the phrase, "man's best friend," just take one look at 16-month-old Hudson Taylor and his German Shepherd puppy, Lily.
Unfortunately, their young friendship stems from a series of tragic events for the boy's family. It all started with the August 2016 flood. Hudson's mother, Lydia Taylor, was pregnant with him in Walker. Then, Hudson decided to come into the world a little earlier than expected.
"He actually decided to make his debut during the flood," Taylor said.
As their home took on water, Taylor and her husband say they could not make it to Woman's Hospital and ended up bringing Hudson into the world at a hospital in Mississippi. Soon after, the couple realized something was terribly wrong with their fourth child.
"[In] the end of April 2017, we noticed him having what looked like seizures that lasted for over 30 minutes," Taylor said.
After months of testing and episodes in which the child stopped breathing, doctors finally determined he had epilepsy. One week after his diagnosis, his mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After going through surgery to get her thyroid removed, the family received another piece of shocking news.
"Before I was able to continue treatment, I found out we were pregnant… which is a wonderful blessing and so we had to discontinue treatment until after the baby is born," Taylor said. "Once the baby is born, I will continue treatment and I know I'm going to be okay. My main concern is feeling powerless over my son. That's the worst feeling in the world."
Taylor is afraid Hudson will have a seizure, stop breathing, and she won't realize it until it's too late. She's also living with cancer and now has a fifth child on the way. That's where Lily the German Shepherd puppy could help. The family hopes to train her to be able to save Hudson's life.
"Having an epilepsy service dog would be in the best interest of our son, not only to care for Hudson, but also to alert us when he's having a seizure," Taylor said.
The mother of five is a teacher at Compass Career College in Hammond. Her students and coworkers are now holding a series of fundraisers to help pay for the dog's training. Taylor says the initial training can cost between $7,000 and $10,000 and Lily will need additional training as she ages, along with Hudson.
"I think the puppy has to be around one before they can start the training, so we have some time to gather these funds for them and hopefully help prevent anything that might happen in the future for poor baby Hudson," said Taylor's coworker and director at Compass Career College, Sarah Dugas.
"It feels... there are no words to express my gratitude toward everyone," Taylor said. "There really aren't. All I know is my whole family is so grateful. And we would not be where we are today if not for friends, family and our community."
Here are some ways you can help the family:
- Donate to a GoFundMe that has been set up for the family
- Jambalaya fundraiser with silent auction and raffle on December 16 at Shoppers Value Foods, located at 28145 Walker South Rd. in Walker.
- Pre-order plates by emailing Hudsonepilepsyservicedog@gmail.com
- Call or stop by to purchase raffle tickets at Rhodes Repurposing 985-259-5167 and Compass Career College (985) 419-2050.
- Throughout the month of December, Compass Career College Cosmetology School in Hammond is running a special. The program, called Haircuts for Hudson, is donating 100 percent of proceeds from all haircuts to training Lily. Walk-ins are welcome or you can book an appointment.