A dog can be more than a pet. It can also be a service dog that helps those with disabilities.
A little boy in Monroe County hopes to get a special dog by his next birthday.
Mason Millsaps is a friendly little guy with a funny nickname 'Noody' short for noodle.
He lives with his family in Madisonville.
Matthew is his big brother. He started a blog about Mason he calls cupofnoody.
"I has always asked my parents for a sibling when I was little and I definitely didn't think it was going to be something as special as Mason," he said.
Mason has a special personality and he's not your typical kid. His chromosomes are not typical either.
"He's got a duplication in his chromosome 22 and he's got a deletion in his chromosome 4 and 18," his mother
Carrie Millsaps said. "It affects his immune system, it affects his speech. He still doesn't talk. It effects his cognitive skills, his walking, his balance."
An ipad helps Mason communicate.
"We've got an app on here that has him be able to tell us things because he doesn't talk," Carrie said.
His father Wes Millsaps said, "Of course it's always nice to hear I love you. Her can't say it aloud so he uses his ipad to tell us and it's really nice."
Mason pressed a square picture of the ipad and the words "I love you" came out.
The ipad has given Mason a voice.
His family believes a service dog would give him some independence and give them peace of mind.
"If he's not in his stroller and you're holding his hand he is constantly trying to get away from you. And he is fast. He may not have the best balance but he is super fast," Carrie said. "If there was water, a pool, a cliff, an edge somewhere, a car, he has no fear to just go. So the service dog, he would tether to the dog and it would help peace of mind in keeping him where he's supposed to be, safe and independent where he's not constantly being held."
The Millsaps family just started the process of raising $13,000 for their share of a service dog trained by a non-profit called 4 paws for ability. Training takes about a year.
"I am 5 years old," the ipad quipped after Mason pressed a square.
Mason just celebrated his 5th birthday this week.
Maybe he'll get that special present by his next birthday, for a special little boy.
"I'm biased but he's the cutest thing in the world," Matthew said.
No argument there.