Auburn High student ready to begin life with new service dog

Local News

AUBURN, Ala.- MacKenzie Morgan is a junior at Auburn High School. She has a smile that can light up a room, and is extremely loving.

She was born nine-weeks premature and was born with Cerebral Palsy, but she does not let it get to her. Her mother, Kristy Morgan said she is an overcomer, and has accomplished so much in her life with more to do.

MacKenzie said she wanted a service dog for quite sometime. A few weeks ago, she had the chance to meet one. MacKenzie said she was nervous at first, and was told not to get attached from the beginning. However, things changed when she met Maddie. When the two first met, it was love at first sight.

This past Saturday, the two were reunited as MacKenzie was able to welcome Maddie home. Not only did she welcome home a new service dog, she welcomed home a friend who will never leave her side. Maddie will be the first service dog at Auburn High School. Maddie will be able to pick things up for MacKenzie, turn lights on and off, along with bark to get someone’s attention if MacKenzie were to fall. MacKenzie said that having Maddie will help with her sense of independence along with confidence.

MacKenzie and her new service dog and friend, Maddie, on their first day of school.

“Here’s a dog that doesn’t see me for my disability, and just sees me as a friend,” MacKenzie said. “A friend is what I really need right now because high school is rough. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been struggling with breaking out of my shell, and that’s something that’s always been really hard for me. I think that Maddy will be a constant reminder that I will have a friend no matter what.”

Last Friday, her former gym, Premier Spirit Academy in Auburn held a fundraiser to help with the costs of training Maddie and the purchase of a new wheelchair-accessible van. MacKenzie was a member of their special needs team five years ago. Owner, Frank Baugh said that when he learned that MacKenzie and the family were trying to raise funds for Maddie’s training, he wanted to help.

The event raised more than $2,000 for the cause.

The family also started a GoFundMe to help with the cause, and they are about $5,000 away from their goal. The funds raised will go towards Maddie’s training, and any additional funds will be used for a wheelchair-accessible van.

MacKenzie has dreams of going to London and writing a book, and having Maddie at her side will help her achieve that goal.

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