EXCLUSIVE: Boy now allowed to bring service dog to New York City school

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ByJim Dolan via WABC logo
Saturday, June 17, 2017
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David Novarro has the details on how the dog will accompany the boy to school.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A young boy in New York City who desperately needed a service dog to be his partner now has had his wish come true. After running into an insensitive wall of bureaucracy, "Sundance" is home.

Sundance is a cute puppy, but he's so much more than that. He could someday save a life, Daniel's life.

"We got all his stuff. His bowls, his leash, all his stuff," said Daniel Riley, diabetic.

"I have a pod, and I check my blood sugar, and if I need a correction or if I'm eating I give my carbs and the pod tells me how much insulin," Daniel said.

9-year-old Daniel has Type 1 diabetes. It doesn't slow him down much, he plays sports and lives a pretty normal life, but is always aware of what happened when he was 2 years old and could happen again. It almost killed him.

"Diabetic ketoacidosis," Daniel said.

But a group called "Dads of America" offered Daniel's mom Sundance, the specially, highly-trained Golden Retriever.

"It warns me 30-40 minutes before I go low or high" Daniel said.

"That's better than you could do on your own," Eyewitness News Reporter Jim Dolan said.

"Yes," Daniel said.

"I still need to be aware of his numbers before or after," said Daneen Gazzola, Daniel's mother.

Daniel and his mom ran into a bit of a setback when they first tried to bring Sundance home.

Daniel's mom went to the city Department of Health to notify them her son would be bringing a service animal to Daniel's school and, as bureaucracies do, they had her fill out a form.

A couple weeks later, "They responded the application was denied," Gazzola said.

The city Department of Education told Eyewitness News, "The DOE is reviewing the details of the request to determine the level of involvement that is required as this is a nonpublic school."

But the school, St. Clare of Assisi in the Bronx couldn't allow the dog until the city gives its OK. Fortunately, on Friday, Eyewitness News got the good news that Daniel and Sundance were together at last.

Daniel's mom says, not only do they have a new member of their family, Daniel also made the honor roll!