LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A local service dog was the center of a tweet that has now gone viral with over one million likes.
Rowdy is Daegan Welch’s diabetic alert dog, and is the only service dog in Calcasieu Parish Public Schools. He has been a part of her life for four years now, according to her mom Monique Chaffin, to help keep an extra eye on Daegan.
“Type 1 diabetes," says Chaffin, "It’s very serious. Just this month, two children died; one from going low during the night, and the other went un-diagnosed. The doctor sent him home during the flu and it’s not. It causes brain damage and kids sometimes don’t make it. It happens a lot.”
Now, Chaffin and her daughter are raising awareness about service dogs, especially since Rowdy follows Daegan wherever she goes, including to school at M.J. Kaufman Elementary School.
“Beginning of every school year we usually go to each class room and let them know what his job is, how they can’t distract him. They can give him a little finger wave—they can’t talk to him or pet him.” says Chaffin.
Last week, the school’s yearbook photographer snapped a few extra pictures of Rowdy and posted them to social media. The post quickly went viral, but Chaffin says this isn’t Rowdy’s first yearbook photo op.
“I said, 'if they think the bow tie is cute, they should see some of his other costumes and stuff," Chaffin says, laughing. "He dressed up as a mermaid over the summer vacation. We like to get dressed up.”
Chaffin keeps social media accounts for people to learn more about Type 1 Diabetes, service animals, and to post pictures of her, Daegan, and Rowdy.
Chaffin says Daegan will be going to middle school next year, where hopefully Rowdy can continue to have his photo taken alongside Daegan for the yearbook.