Crystal Hook with her new service dog, Valorie, a 1-½-year-old German Australian Shepherd mix. The two are doing great and go everywhere together.

After months of effort, Crystal Hook has received a service dog of her own named Valorie. After switching between service dog organizations, mother Gerri Schulz found help through Valor Medical Service Dogs (VMSD).

Valorie is partially trained, so her training continues with Hook at VMSD twice or three times a month for about three hours each visit, along with training at home, which will last around a year.

VMSD helps people through a pay it forward method with the requirement that they spread the word, rather than charging people individually. Someone who came before Hook helped Schulz raise funds for her service dog, so she in turn will help raise money for another person and let people know about the nonprofit.

For more information about VMSD or to donate, visit valormedicalservicedogs.com, search for ‘Valor Medical Service Dogs’ on Facebook or call 321-696-0303. VMSD is located at 2036 Lake View Ave. in Chuluota.

Original Story printed May 2019.

Local Resident Crystal Hook, age 28, was born with developmental delays, is nonverbal and is 90 percent blind. She has trouble with everyday life because of her disabilities, such as having tantrums over walking or going to the restroom. The disabilities have left her without friends due to being unable to connect well with others.

Hook is in need of someone to help her through daily problems and give her the warmth and comfort of companionship, so what better than man’s best friend? A service dog will not only assist Hook with her blindness and mobility problems, it will also be a source of stability and emotional support for her. She might be also able to form new connections with people due to her service dog acting as a social bridge.

Schulz said she wants to help her daughter get out in the community. “The dog would be there in case she ends up having not a very good day like most of us usually do,” she added.