5-year-old ‘Miracle Boy’ looking to lead fuller life with help of a service dog

A family in Omaha is working to get their 5-year-old son his very own service dog.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:21 PM CDT
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BENNINGTON, Neb. (WOWT) - Doctors once said Memphis Keck would never walk. But now at five years old, he’s standing tall.

Memphis was born with several medical challenges.

“He had grade three and grade four brain bleeds. And he has no Corpus Callosum. His brain doesn’t talk to each other,” said Allyson Keck, Memphis’ mother. So they said, ‘Don’t expect much, he probably won’t walk, he probably won’t talk.

Instead, he’s singing and dancing his way through life. When Memphis was a baby he and his sister Serenity were put in foster care.

“When he came to us he was 7-months-old only weighed 8 pounds. The home that took him after he got out of the NICU, DCF had to actually move him and his sister because of medical neglect. Then they went to five other foster homes,” Keck said.

Later, they were placed with the Kecks who became their forever family.

“At that point, they were going toward adoption and we were like ‘you know, we’ll help you until they get an adoptive home’, but then they came to us and we were like, ‘they’re not going to a different home,’” said Keck.

The Kecks tell 6 News they want Memphis to live as freely as possible. So, their doctor advised getting a service dog.

“The scariest thing is what’s going to happen when we’re gone. I hate thinking about that. Teaching him more independence with this dog would help that,” Keck said.

The Kecks’ quest of getting Memphis a service dog has come with its share of challenges, such as potential waits of up to three years just to start the process.

The family is now working with California-based Doggie Do Good. They train service animals.

They said since COVID, demand for service dogs has been on the rise.

“There’s definitely been an increase, especially after the pandemic. I think a lot of people have PTSD and those sorts of different things. They’ve been inside and they’re very nervous about going outside,” said Destiny Aragon with Doggie Do Good.

Another barrier is the price tag.

“The cost of a service dog can vary anywhere between $20,000-$30,000. I don’t think a lot of people really realize the cost and all of the training that really goes into a service dog,” Aragon said.

With that in mind, the Kecks are looking to raise around $23,000 dollars.

“Once they get $8,000 the dog can start training. That’s our big goal,” Keck said.

The kecks have faith that they’ll reach their goals, just like Memphis their miracle child.

“It feels like a really big mountain. “That’s his job. he climbs mountains.”

You can donate to Memphis’ service dog by contacting Doggie Do Good directly, calling 805-473-1701, or clicking on this website to donate by card -- mention you’re donation to Memphis Keck. You can also donate by Venmo @doggiedoesgood and putting “Memphis Keck” in the text box.