Dog brings happiness and healing to local boy

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PHILLIPI, W.Va. (WDTV) - When Rebecca Shumway adopted a Yorkie named Snuggles, she had no idea how much the dog would help her family...especially her son Alex.

The Shumway family plays with Snuggles, their dog.

Alex has Ehler's Danlos Syndrome... a connective tissue disorder caused by a lack of collagen in the body.

"The glue that holds him together doesn't work so he dislocates his joints and has frail organs," said his mother, Rebecca Shumway.

The 11-year old experiences chronic pain.

"Some days it just hurts really bad," said Alex.

'Some days are better than others, but there's never a pain-free day," said Shumway.

But when Shumway brought Snuggles home last year, she saw instant changes in her son.

"The first day we brought Snuggles home Alex started playing with her and he started laughing, which was really nice to see because it had been a long time since he laughed," Shumway said.

Alex's older sister, Sophia, said that Snuggles makes her brother's days brighter.

"After we got the dog, he plays and interacts with her, he smiles more, and I feel like he's in less pain," Sophia said.

According to Shumway, the tiny dog can sense when the kids need some love.

"She just seems to know how the kids are feeling and what kid needs her the most at the moment," said Shumway.

"When I'm feeling sad, she lets me pet her and play with her," Alex said.

Snuggles has brought more happiness to not just Alex, but to the whole family.

"This dog has been great; I had my reservations about getting a dog but she has been really good for us," Shumway said.