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A Boy and His German Shepard Make History

One high school student is making history in Iowa with his best friend. Tyler Gerdts, a junior at Davenport West High School, was the first student with a disability to run a cross-country race with his service dog, Hugo.

Gerdts was born with a brain injury, and he has autism. Hugo, a German shepherd, has been trained to assist Gerdts in many of his needs and track him if he ever goes missing. While originally a service dog, Gerdts calls Hugo his "number-one friend." The dog has helped Gerdts to come out of his shell and interact more.

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"Tyler and Hugo have a connection that Tyler hasn't really been able to make with anyone else," Kelley Gerdts, Tyler's mom, told the Huffington Post. "But with Hugo, we see him change his tone of voice to communicate different feelings to him. Somehow, he knows that Hugo will understand him better if he does that."

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Gerdts and Hugo ran the 5K together, achieving a personal best for Gerdts. He finished in 28 minutes and 22 seconds.

"As soon as he hears his name cheered on, boy, he takes off like crazy, you know, and he really wants people to be proud of him," Kelley Gerdts told KWQC-TV.

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