A heartwarming tale is told of a young girl who has regained the ability to walk, thanks to the assistance of her beloved companion, a Great Dane.
A teenager, who was resigned to a lifetime of being confined to a wheelchair due to a rare and degenerative muscle-wasting illness, has shared the heartwarming tale of how her faithful Great Dane companion gave her the courage and support to walk again without the need for crutches.
Bella, who had been experiencing muscle degeneration, was able to bear her own weight after six months with George.
“My leg muscles got really weak, and it was hard to walk, but once I got George, it kind of forced me to walk,” she explained.
Bella was paired with George during her time at the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
She recalls how, when she first started working at the facility that specializes in matching Great Danes with disabled individuals, the dogs would run away from her.
Bella said: “When I started to volunteer at the service dog, it was just fun because I got to spend time with all of my favorite animals all of the time.”
“It didn’t seem like work, it kind of seemed just like hanging out with all my friends and the animals.”
“I’m an animal person, so I liked all of the dogs, but none of them really liked me. It’s because of my voice, it’s like high pitched.”
Over time, Bella noticed that only George would stay in his kennel when she arrived at the facility.
She continued: “At first he started to run off and then slowly after a while he just stayed. And then I would be brushing him out, and he wouldn’t let me leave.”
“Like he’d either block the door or try to sit on my lap so that I couldn’t leave.”
“Then we started to take him home for weekends and stuff, we’d hang out and play. He’d get used to the family, and then after a while, he became mine.”
Rachel was initially concerned about being paired with George because he weighed 130 pounds while she was only 40 pounds, but they were eventually partnered together.
Rachel said: “George knew what Bella needed and right when she needed it. If she needed to walk slower, George would slow down so that they could walk right side-by-side.”
“If she was having a good day and could walk faster, he would walk faster. He knew what she needed right when she needed.”
Bella’s doctors were amazed at the significant improvement in her leg strength and overall outlook on life.
The teenager, who was honored for her miraculous recovery with the help of a Great Dane, described the dog as being very protective.
Rachel said: “A lot of kids by thirteen with morquio are confined to wheelchairs already. Bella was told she’ll never ride a bike and she was determined to get on a two-wheeler and ride a bike.”
“George likes to stay right nearby, he chases her and runs alongside. He tries to keep up with her wherever she is. We were told she’ll never be able to swim, now watching her out there kicking, diving, doing flips, it’s amazing.”
“The strength she has with George now, her ability to just be a kid is awesome. She likes to prove everyone wrong and do things she’s told she’ll never do.”