HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A local family suffered a big loss, their dog passed away last November.

But, a California business owner is helping them get a fresh start. They recently met at Harrisburg International Airport.

“We have been waiting so long for this dream to come true for us,” Keishla Rodriguez said.

They say a dog is man’s best friend. That reigns especially true for the Rodriguez family, who lost their service dog in late 2020.

“We don’t talk much about that because it’s hard,” Rodriguez said.

The service dog was a big help to Rodriguez’s son and daughter, both living with disabilities. Both children live with autism, ADHD, and absent epilepsy. And it’s been especially tough times for the kids, trying to navigate through a pandemic without their best friend.

But, things are changing.

“I can’t describe my emotions right now because I want to cry again because this is happening for my kids,” Rodriguez said.

Shelly Ann Cawley is the owner of Travelers Care. They provide professional travel companions to accompany minors, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and other people with special needs.

Rodriguez saw one of the labs Travelers Care was transporting, but they were out of her price range. She reached out to Cawley, Cawley introduced Rodriguez to the breeder, and all of a sudden this lab made it to Pa.

This special dog made the trip from Houston to Atlanta to Harrisburg, but the Rodriguez family was not sure what came next.

“The little ones are asking ‘are you sure I am taking the dog home?’,” Cawley said. “So that was super cute and cool to do. That the mother was in tears, I was in tears.”

“This dog is so amazing for them,” Rodriguez said. “This dog came with happiness for them.”

“It was amazing,” Cawley said. “The children are happy and that is what it is really about. Giving back.”