PATERSON — Six-year-old Lyana Stevens gained a new companion in her struggle against brain cancer on Monday, a friendly black-and-white puppy who made her giggle when he licked her face.
“Where’s he going to sleep?” asked her father, Gregory Stevens.
“With you, right?” said her mother, Karilyn Reyes.
The illness has left Lyana unable to talk very much. But with a twinkle in her eye, the little girl nodded her head up and down to confirm that the puppy would be bedding down with her.
Lyana and her family have been in a life-and-death battle since March, when the first-grader at Roberto Clemente Elementary School was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. The city’s animal control officer, John DeCando, heard about Lyana’s situation through fundraising efforts and wondered if the little girl wanted a puppy. So he contacted a family member.
“We brought it up to her doctor, and he thought it was an …