Dog found on vacation changes a Jessamine County boy’s life

A special bond between a boy and a rescued dog.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 7:16 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -It’s a story of a boy and his dog, but it doesn’t follow the traditional tale of what you might think.

Normally when WKYT brings you a Commonwealth of Kindness report, it’s about humans helping animals, but this story is quite the opposite.

Recently a Jessamine County family encountered a dog on vacation that changed their lives.

“He followed my husband Tom home from a run, and he never left,” said Lynn Braker.

This past December while on vacation in Aruba a playful dog with big ears casually worked his way into the Braker family.

“As the days went on we were thinking I guess this is our dog and we were not dog people,” said Braker.

What came next stunned Lynn and Tom Braker, their 10-year-old son Anderson who has Down Syndrome and Autism bonded immediately with the dog.

“The minute he saw the dog, he threw a ball and said go! And for the most part he is a nonverbal person, and he signs and speaks a few words, we were very shocked and then we started seeing lots of other changes,” said Lynn Braker.

Lynn and Tom began to realize maybe this dog really did choose them.

“I believe that God gives you blessings. Most of the time you don’t know what you need in life and God will give that to you and I believe this dog was a necessity in our family,” said Tom Braker.

There are hundreds of stray dogs on the island, so when the dog returned the next day, the Brakers realizing they might have a new pet made sure he didn’t have an owner.

Turns out he didn’t, and Dante became the newest family member.

But for their son Anderson, Dante quickly became more than just a pet.

“There is not a lot of things he really enjoys to do a lot. You know he’s not a kid who loves a lot of toys and things, but this connection with this dog was unbelievable,” said Braker.

So with the help of the nonprofit Sgt. Pepper’s friends, an animal rescue group Dante was flown to Florida.

Tom, who has never owned a dog and is highly allergic met him there to make the 20 hour drive home to Kentucky.

“I didn’t know what I was doing and he almost reassured me that he was okay,” said Tom Braker.

Dante has stolen this family’s heart.

The change in Anderson they say is remarkable, Lynn says Anderson now makes better eye contact and is more confident.

“The connection with Anderson is what we have been praying for. We have been praying for something to change his life,” said Lynn Braker.

A dog homeless in Aruba, now the king of his castle.

“He’s just made for our family, he’s just so laid back.”

A dog gone good tale this family never saw coming, but couldn’t imagine not being a part of.