MERIDIAN - A Meridian family is thanking a local animal hospital for a generous donation.
WestVet specialists donated their time and resources to treat a service puppy with a life-threatening heart defect, called Persistent Right Aortic Arch.
Phillip, a Labrador puppy, is a service animal for 7-year-old Jakson Thiel, who has autism.
"[He] makes me feel comfortable," Jakson said of his furry best friend. "Makes me feel happy, happy, happy when I'm with my little dog Phillip."
When veterinary surgeon Dr. Jeff Brourman heard about the bond Jakson and Phillip had, he decided to perform the life-saving operation on the puppy, free of charge.
Jakson's dad, Cody Thiel, says he is beyond thankful for the generous donation.
"It's something you really can't put into words especially when you have a child on the spectrum or a child with special needs," Cody said. "Any type of help or love or support from the community or other people you just can't put those types of things in words It's just pure love."
Cody wanted to get his son a service animal to help comfort Jakson and protect him. They decided to find a rescue dog and have him trained to be Jakson's service animal.
That's how they met Phillip. The puppy was in foster care. He had been surrendered to a Boise veterinarian after he was diagnosed with the heart condition.
After the care from WestVet, Phillip is healthy and thriving. The bond between Jakson and his dog gets stronger everyday.
"It's given him a lot of purpose. Feeling that he has his own dog and that he has somebody to take care of," Cody said. "One of the things that Jakson says a lot is, 'Phillip is going to be my best friend forever Dad,' and for me that just warms my heart to hear him say that."
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