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Family hopes a service dog will help their son

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DUNCAN, Okla._The parents of a little boy from Duncan who's been struggling with severe medical problems since birth think a dog might provide the answer they've been looking for.

Cooper Slate struggles daily with a series of physical and mental ailments, from chronic MRSA to disruptive behavior disorder. While medicine is available for many of his physical problems, his family has searched for months for ways to help him cope with his mental struggles. They're confident a service dog will help his behavior and help him learn how to better interact with people.

These dogs are individually trained to help people with specific disabilities which include helping calm people with stress or behavior disorders. They believe with some work that a dog can help Cooper deal better with the outside world.

This may seem like any other family spending a day at the park, but their time is limited. They will have to leave soon before three-year old Cooper becomes disruptive.

"We don't know why Cooper is like he is. It could be many factors," said Angela Slate, Cooper’s mother.

Angela says he has a hard time handling all the sights and sounds that bombard him when he's not in the safe surroundings of his home.

"He can't make it through a dinner in public. He can't make it through his brother's soccer games or his wrestling matches so we want something to make him feel secure and safe," said Angela Slate.

After consulting with his doctor and therapist, they agreed a service dog might actually be their best hope. However, getting one will not be easy or cheap. They can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $20,000. Janet Serra-Hall, a disable veteran, has one and says it has made a huge difference in her life.

"I am one hundred percent disabled. I fall a lot and I am also an insulin-dependent diabetic. He is now a diabetic alert dog," explained Serra-Hall.

Now the Slate family is on a mission to find the money to see if a dog like Janet's will give Cooper a new outlook on life.

"This dog is going to be there for Cooper to cry on. This dog will be there for Cooper to talk to and to play with. It's really gonna be a great benefit," explained Cooper’s dad, John Slate.

Slate also says that even after someone finds a dog and a trainer, the bonding process can take close to two years.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for anyone wishing to help the family.

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