Winchester teen creates dog dessert business, raising money for service dog training
WINCHESTER, Va. (WHSV) - A Winchester family has started a dog dessert businesses as a way to help their son deal with his mental health condition and become more independent.
Keygan Mullineaux began hearing voices in his head when he was 15 and his family soon learned he’d developed Schizoaffective Disorder.
“Keygan had two suicide attempts. The latest one was April and he was on a crisis stabilization unit, and he was there until his 17th birthday, so from April 9th until June 3rd,” said Kelly Dodson, Keygan’s mother.
Schizoaffective Disorder is a relatively rare chronic condition that can trigger hallucinations, mania, delusions, and depression.
After his suicide attempt in April, Keygan was left in a catatonic state for weeks.
Since returning home, his family has helped him relearn many things.
“Two months ago he needed 24/7 care then they started asking us to back away because we got Keygan into a good spot, so Keygan learned how to clean his room again. He’s learning how to drive,” said Dodson.
As Keygan has become more independent over the past few months, he’s been training with his service dog Alexis.
That gave the family the idea to begin making special dog treats, something Keygan has found a knack for.
“It’s kind of fun. Me and him work with it, his step sister Morgan helps with it, and then his younger brother helps so it’s brought a little bit of togetherness,” said Dodson.
A month later, the family now has a business on their hands called ‘Doggylicious,’ taking orders and assisting Keygan in making special cakes and treats for pups.
“People kind of just let Keygan do his own thing, so if they want a cake they’ll just tell us how old their puppy is. They’ll tell us if there’s any allergies and whatever design he comes up with is what they take,” said Dodson.
Dodson said making the treats has been therapeutic for her son and is helping him become more independent.
“When it comes down to decorating we just kind of all pitch in with ideas so we kind of just do it together. We do it to help him,” she said.
The money the family has made from the early sales will help Keygan and his canine companion finish their service dog training.
“She knows how to sit, down, paw, high five, crawl, focus, touch, and she’s gonna learn more stuff once she’s fully trained,” said Keygan.
The business is just getting started but early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“All the dogs are really enjoying them. We have some people that have sent us pictures of when they’re getting their cake, so people love them. It’s kind of fun to watch the videos and then we get to laugh, so it’s just something fun,” said Dodson.
So far the family has taken orders in Winchester, Front Royal, and Strasburg, but they will deliver and eventually ship orders around the Valley.
You can learn more about the business and place an order here.
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