Special Needs Service Dog Joins Cheerleading Team and Goes For Gold

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A unique cheerleading team headed out of Ohio is headed for national competition and they’re bringing a furry teammate with them!

A cheerleading team from Ohio is unlike any other you’ve probably ever seen. Team Zeta is a group of fabulously talented special needs kids who are on the road to championship in Orlando. And, they have a special teammate–a golden retriever named Cyclone.

Cyclone is the service dog to Team Zeta member Harrison Chmura. Harrison is non-verbal and Cyclone helps the adorable 7-year-old stay focused with all the stimulation performing brings, as well as helping Harrison open up to his teammates and engage in typical gym situations.

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Cheer World co-owner AJ Gamin said that to the best of their knowledge, Cyclone being on the competitive mat in a service capacity is a first. He says the growth they’ve seen in Harrison since adding Cyclone to the roster has been tremendous and has allowed the team to do some really great things.

Harrison’s dad, John Chmura, says that Cyclone doesn’t just give Harrison the ability to process simulation from the competition, but also helps Harrison initiate play and engage in dances with his teammates. Prior to Cyclone being part of the ‘team’, Harrison wasn’t doing any of that. Cyclone helps Harrison regulate the sensory input that comes from all the lights and sound of competing and will do the same when they are compete in the upcoming Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando, Florida at the end of April this year.

Related: Therapy Dogs Help Children With Autism More Than We Thought

So go, Team Zeta, and rock those mats! We can’t wait to watch the fur fly as you show us your (fluffy) stuff!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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