Christmas comes early for special needs teen: Petco, Passion 4 K.I.D.S. provide service dog

SAN DIEGO - Christmas came a little early for a San Diego teenager who suffers from a severe form of muscular dystrophy.

For 13-year-old Caleb Hauer, Saturday could possibly be one of the best days of his life.

Because Caleb suffers from a severe form of muscular dystrophy and needs as much help as he can get, the Petco Foundation teamed up with Passion 4 K.I.D.S. and gave him a $500 Petco shopping spree to go along with a $10,000 service dog of his choice.

It was love at first sight for Caleb and one specially trained golden retriever.

The moment was so sweet that it brought a Petco employee to tears.

"It's happy and sad all at the same time," said employee Eulilia Lewis.

Employee Chantal McNama said, "Best Christmas gift ever and we're glad we're part of that."

Caleb told 10News, "It will change my life because I drop things and sometimes I fall and if I fall, like, the dog will help me up."

He is one of 44 special needs kids Penny Hauer and her husband Chuck have adopted over their married life, in addition to their five biological children.

"I'm just totally overwhelmed right now with joy," said Penny Hauer.

Caleb has what was supposed to be a service dog at home. The dog though, to his family's surprise, turned out to be a buddy rather than true help.

The family says they were duped into thinking it was a service dog. They raised thousands and lost it all.

"This for us is Christmas … helping the little ones that can't get help any place else," said  Linda Van Kessler, who is with Passion 4 K.I.D.S.

Caleb says his parents do not have much money and there will not be many presents this year -- that was until Saturday.

"I'm just … hardly know what to say, I'm that excited ... I am that excited," said Penny Hauer.

Caleb is one of 18 special needs children Penny and Chuck Hauer are currently caring for.

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