Superhero breakfast raises funds to get service dog for 11-year-old

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Superhero breakfast raises funds to get service dog for 11-year-old

Batman, Iron Man, Captain America and a bunch of princesses served breakfast Saturday to help get Kyler Gould, 11, a psychiatric service dog.

Kyler has struggled with generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder since he was only five, his parents said.

"Day to day, he struggles going to school. He struggles with worries about everything from kids at school to his hair to sensory issues, like if he spills something or gets his hands wet," said Don Gould, Kyler's father.

They've tried medications and other methods, but Don said they've learned that a service dog could really help Kyler.

"He just has a really highly emotional, really hard life. So the way the dogs can help is just by being a best friend and just being there. The dog creates a bit of a zone around him," Don said.

They found out a psychiatric service dog would cost around $20,000, because it would be specifically trained for Kyler's needs. His mom, Tina, said she reached out on Facebook for help.

"We've been dealing with this really privately and we decided that we needed some support in getting Kyler's service dog," she said.

That post made its way to Lori Lucas, the owner of the Chicken Chef restaurant on Portage Avenue. She contacted the family about hosting a fundraising pancake breakfast and silent auction.

All of the staff dressed up as superheroes and princesses, bringing some extra magic and whimsy to the fundraiser. The goal was to raise $6,000 for Kyler's service dog.

In the packed restaurant on Saturday morning, Tina said she was moved by the efforts from the community.

"It's been a whirlwind of emotions and the turnout is absolutely amazing," Tina said. "The words of love and support and the donations and everything, we can't thank everyone enough for coming together."

For Kyler, the breakfast means he is much closer to the service dog he hopes will help make his life a little easier.

"I'm super excited. I can't get my mind off of [the dog]. I think of it every single second," he said.

As for a name, Kyler said he's thinking of calling the dog Shadow.

"Because it will be my shadow," he said.

There will be another fundraiser on Sunday morning at the Phoenix Lodge on Wilkes Avenue. The family has also started a GoFundMe page.