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WINCHESTER, Virginia (WHSV) – A Winchester family started a dog dessert business to help their son cope with his mental illness and become more independent.
Keygan Mullineaux began hearing voices in his head at the age of 15, and his family soon learned that he had developed schizoaffective disorder.
“Keygan had two suicide attempts. The last one was in April and he was in a crisis stabilization unit and he was there until his 17th birthday, from April 9th to June 3rd, ”said Kelly Dodson, Keygan’s mother.
Schizoaffective disorder is a relatively rare chronic condition that can trigger hallucinations, mania, delusions, and depression.
Keygan was in a catatonic state for weeks after his suicide attempt in April.
Since returning home, his family has helped him learn many new things.
“Two months ago he needed 24-hour care, then they asked us to retire because we had moved Keygan to a good place so Keygan could learn how to tidy up his room again. He’s just learning to drive, ”said Dodson.
Since Keygan has become more independent in recent months, he trains with his service dog Alexis.
This gave the family the idea of making special dog treats, which Keygan has found a knack for.
“It’s kind of fun. He and me work with it, his stepsister Morgan helps out and then his younger brother helps out so it made a little togetherness, ”Dodson said.
A month later, the family now has a shop called “Doggylicious” that takes orders and helps Keygan make special cakes and treats for puppies.
“People just let Keygan do his own thing. So if you want a cake just tell us how old your puppy is. They’ll tell us if there are any allergies and whatever he can come up with, ”Dodson said.
Dodson said making the goodies had been therapeutic for her son and helped him become more independent.
“When it comes to decoration, we just come up with ideas, so we just do it together. We’re doing it to help him, ”she said.
The money the family made from early sales will help Keygan and his canine companion complete their service dog training.
“She knows how to sit, sit, kick, high five, crawl, focus, touch, and she’ll learn more once she’s fully trained,” Keygan said.
Business is just getting started, but the initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“All dogs really enjoy them. We have some people who sent us pictures when they get their cake so they love them. It’s fun to watch the videos and then we can laugh, so it’s just fun, ”said Dodson.
So far the family has taken orders in Winchester, Front Royal and Strasbourg, but they will deliver and eventually ship orders across the valley.
You can learn more about the business and place an order here.
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