email mobile

Coast to Coast
1 AM - 7 AM
WSJM-FM 94.9

Posted: Monday, 28 April 2014 3:20PM

St. Joe Family Continues Effort to Get 'Riley For Billy'

A St. Joseph family is working to make history and possibly set a precedent for special needs students in Berrien County. At the same time, they are in need of some help from all of Michigan's Great Southwest. The Arney family plans to introduce Riley into the St. Joseph Public Schools during the 2014-15 school year as the district's first-ever autism service dog. Jennifer Arney says her son Billy is in seventh grade at Upton Middle School. Riley is currently training with Committed Canine in Brownstown, Illinois.



Billy suffers from anxiety and depression from not being able to communicate as he'd like to with friends, teachers, family members and more. Among many other responsibilities, Riley is being trained specifically for those behaviors, and to be an icebreaker for other students and the public. Riley is not cheap, training will cost about $12,000.


The Arney family has been active on social media building up a base of supporters through Facebook. They provide regular updates at, and are working on fundraisers such as spaghetti dinners or pancake breakfasts to be held this spring and summer. Details on those will be announced on the Riley For Billy Facebook page when they're finalized.

WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI

A   A   A