A Franklin, Massachusetts, family is making an unexpected trip to North Carolina to pick up a service dog that was supposed to be specially trained for their son with autism, except the 8-month-old dog is not ready to help.
Kristie and Tim Maxfield raised more than $14,000 from donations to acquire Teddy from a North Carolina nonprofit called RyCon, but the family has learned the company is going out of business and Teddy is not fully trained.
The Maxfields live on a busy street and are hoping the service dog may prevent their 6-year-old son, PJ, from running out into the street.
"He's a wanderer. He's a runner. This dog was supposed to help us," said Kristie Maxfield.
The Raleigh-based company describes its service dogs as hearts of gold wrapped in fur. WFXT called owner Mark Mathis, who said financial trouble is forcing him out of business.
"I care very much about this family, but the business itself has simply become unsustainable.," said Mathis.
The Maxfields are concerned they will bring Teddy back to Massachusetts and will have a dog with no training in order to help PJ.
"I'm in the moment right now, trying to deal with this crisis. So, I can't comment on what I'm going to be able to do in the future, except to say I will do all I can," said Mathis.
For the Maxfields, that isn't good enough -- not for the friends and strangers who gave them money for Teddy, and definitely not for PJ.
"At this point, $15,000 has been wasted. Money other people gave us, trusted, to help our son, has now been spent on a puppy," said Tim Maxfield.