Miss Dallas Teen Crowned Along with Best Friend


Alison Appleby and her service dog, Brady. | Image by MISS DALLAS PAGEANT

A teen from Sherman, Texas, was recently crowned Miss Dallas Teen USA 2022 as she stood beside her best friend, her service dog, Brady. The 17-year-old winner, Alison Appleby, has epilepsy and autism, Fox News reported.

When the teen was crowned on October 9, her golden retriever was also presented with a crown. 

“When they crowned Brady, my heart sunk — my heart absolutely melted,” Appleby told Fox News. “He didn’t like it at first, but he got used to it pretty fast.”

The teenager first met Brady, her seizure-alert dog, in July 2021.

He is 18 months old and is considered to be in training until he is two years old. Appleby told Fox News she has grown close to the golden retriever since being united with him. 

“He pretty much hasn’t left my side since I got him. He’s my best friend, and we are inseparable,” she said. 

Appleby stated she had never competed in a pageant before and did not buy the dresses for the event until just a few days before. She wanted to compete with her service dog to inspire others with disabilities. 

“I was still terrified the whole time… but having Brady by my side made it so much easier,” she told Fox News. “He is my support through it all.” Appleby added that she was surprised to win during her first pageant. 

Jennifer Ortiz, the Miss Dallas pageant director, told Fox News that a small crown was purchased once pageant officials learned the teen would compete with Brady, just in case she was crowned the winner. Ortiz, who has been involved in pageants for 20 years, directed the Miss Dallas pageant for the first time this year.

Ortiz shared that she wanted this year’s pageant to be more inclusive. “To see someone come in that represents spreading that awareness so well — and she was just phenomenal from the start — it was very heartwarming to see her crowned,” she told Fox News. 

Appleby said that being in pageants seemed like something that would be impossible for her. The Miss Dallas Teen judges did not let the disabilities Appleby faces change how they saw her, according to the winning teen. 

She told Fox News she was diagnosed with autism at two, but her epilepsy was misdiagnosed as anxiety until she was 16. 

“I have focal seizures or absent seizures, so I stare into space,” Appleby said. “Sometimes I’ll be speaking, and it sounds like I’m speaking a different language, but to me, it sounds totally normal.”

The teen added this sometimes led to problems at school when she would be accused of doing drugs. 

Appleby is currently homeschooled through Bridgeway Academy, according to her mother, Beth Appleby. She said the school uses printed texts and workbooks instead of online learning. 

Ronnisha Peterson was named Miss Dallas, according to a Facebook post from the pageant. In May 2023, Appleby will compete for Miss Texas Teen.       

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