It may be the first day of school for many students but one junior and his dog have already made history.
Tyler Gerdts and Hugo are the first pair to compete in a cross-country meet in Iowa together.
Gerdts was born with brain injuries and has autism and needed a service dog to provide support and protect him. Hugo not only acts as his running partner but also helps the teen deal with anxiety and is trained to smell gasses, as Gerdts does not have a sense of smell.
“Hugo connects with Tyler in ways no one else has ever been able to connect with him and reaches places within Tyler’s heart that no one else has,” mom Kelley Gerdts told The Dodo. “And to see your kiddo finally have that type of connection with anyone is overwhelming.”
During the meet at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf, the duo ran the last race of the event, the 5K. Not only did he become the first student to run with a service dog but he also had a personal best: running a 28:22 race with Hugo by his side.
Here is a video of the two: