SAN ANTONIO -- A 7-year-old girl is taking matters into her own hands to help her autistic brother get a service dog.
Mattie Reyna came up with the idea to craft tiny bears made out of pipe cleaners and sell them. She calls them "Benny Bears" in honor of her 18-year-old brother, Ben.
She can make many different themed bears but the majority of them are superheroes for a reason.
"My daughter always says my son is a superhero cause he can reach things cause she's so small. He helps. He helps with her a lot," Mattie's mother, Vanessa Reyna, said.
Ben has severe autism and has difficulty communicating with people.
Mattie and Ben's mother said she was forced to quit her job to help take care of her son. She believes a service dog would help Ben gain more independence.
"I'm his service dog. I help him calm down. I know his quirks," Reyna said. "Ben doesn't talk. He signs more. He vocalizes. People tend to stay away from him because like I said, he's a big boy. I think the dog would help him open up to people."
Reyna said a specialist quoted her $6,500 for the dog training. Ever since Mattie heard that number, she has been determined to reach that goal.
She has been a regular downtown selling the bears for $3 each. Mattie selflessly decided to even skip her birthday to sell more bears.
"She's my support. She's strong for me,” said Reyna. “That makes me not want to quit. Especially Ben. I can never quit on Ben."
If you would like to help out Mattie, you can buy Benny Bears at Gino's Deli located at 13210 Huebner Rd.
The owner and manager were moved by Mattie's mission. They purchased dozens of bears themselves and also, help sell them to customers.