Skip to main content

Davis Journal

young boy in Centerville is hoping for his own service dog

Nov 04, 2022 09:46AM ● By Peri Kinder

Raising three little boys is tough. When one of those boys has Down syndrome, the challenge increases. But Morgan Pilcher has discovered a solution that will make her life easier and her child safer. The Pilcher family is raising money to get a service dog trained to help children with Down syndrome. The dog will give Cyrus’s parents some peace of mind.

Cyrus is now 7 years old and has a history of running away and getting himself into dangerous situations. Pilcher recounted several instances where Cyrus would take off.

“I was in Walmart,” Pilcher said. “His brother Jericho was a toddler and Cyrus took off running. With a toddler in tow, I had a hard time catching him. Another mom offered to watch Jericho as I chased down Cyrus. He got out the first set of doors and was heading to the second set when I caught him. No one tried to stop him and he would have run directly into traffic.”

Another time, as Cyrus was leaving a doctor appointment, he ran into the parking lot where a woman stopped traffic, probably saving Cyrus’s life. He also gets up in the middle of the night and tries to leave the house. The family has taken all kinds of precautions, but the only way to keep Cyrus safe is to have a service dog with him at all times. 

“The dog will be trained to give an alert when Cyrus takes off, during the times that we’re asleep or not right next to Cyrus,” Pilcher said. “It will follow Cyrus and keep him out of roads or away from water or any other dangerous areas. Whenever we’re out in public, we can harness Cyrus to the dog so wherever Cyrus goes, the dog goes. A service dog will also help him when he gets overstimulated by grounding him and giving him support, and help him feel safe to sleep throughout the night.”

The cost for a trained service dog can exceed $50,000. By working with Golden Healer Service Dogs, a nonprofit that provides emotional support and service dogs to families, the cost for the dog will drop to $10,000 and the Pilcher’s are hoping the community can help them out. 

“The only portion we need to come up with is $10,000 and the nonprofit makes up the rest,” Pilcher said. “My husband is doing oil and brake changes. All the proceeds we get from that will go toward the service dog.”

They also have a fundraising page at where people can donate. 

Pilcher said they’re about a year out from getting a service animal since all of the dogs are puppies and need to go through initial training. Then they will be tested to see which puppy has an aptitude for Cyrus and his needs. Once they match a dog to Cyrus, it will start its training to become a service dog. When it’s ready, the family will spend two weeks working with the dog before it can be placed in the home. 

“It will take a lot of anxiety and a mental load off me,” Pilcher said. “Right now, when I take my kids to the park, I can’t sit and talk to another parent. I can’t take my eyes off Cyrus for a second because he’s very quiet and he will sneak away very quickly. I always have to be on guard. If we have the service dog, I can play with my baby and know the dog will alert me if Cyrus takes off.”

Cyrus’s father David Pilcher is accepting appointments for the oil and brake change fundraiser through Dec. 16. Sign up for the auto service at λ