Sometimes service dogs can be just like guardian angels to the people that they serve. In this case, this dog might just be an angel.
George is a two-year-old Great Dane, and he is in charge of taking care of Bella, an 11-year-old girl with a rare disorder that causes mobility issues.
When Bella was two years old, her parents noticed that she wasn’t growing as she was supposed to. Genetic tests revealed that she had Morquio syndrome, a progressive disorder that hinders bone development and growth.
Bella has undergone nine major surgeries in her life so far, including a reconstruction of her hips and feet. She used to get around on crutches and moved by swinging her legs rather than walking on them.
While this type of motion did allow her to walk, it is not very conducive to muscle development and strength in the lower body.
This all changed when she met George.
George comes from a service dog program that specializes in training Great Danes for people with balance and mobility issues. The Great Dane is a perfect breed for this task as they are tall and sturdy and have an excellent temperament for the job.
George and Bella became instant friends upon her first visit to the service dog facility. “When she was visiting George, and he didn’t want her to leave his kennel, they were like, ‘Let’s try them,’” said Bella’s mom, Rachel Burton.
Once we saw Bella being around the dog, how she was always in such a great mood and she loved going there, we thought, ‘What are we waiting for?’” she continued.
At first, the Burtons would only bring George home on the weekends, but soon he became a permanent member of the family. With George’s help, Bella soon was able to walk all by herself.
“She leans on him for support like she would if she used one crutch,” said Burton. “But it’s much more exciting when it’s a dog than a crutch.”
Bella and her 131-pound companion are now an inseparable pair. At night, the Great Dane climbs into bed and often sleeps beside her. He goes to school with her and even has a bed beside her desk. He also accompanies her to her weekly doctor's visits for her shots.
“At first, he did not like it when she would get her IV put in,” said Burton. “He would want to get up and protect her. But then he realized it had to be done.”
After months of George’s help and support, Bella can now walk and even run independently.
“I don’t remember the last time I watched my child run through the yard,” Burton said. “Seeing her run was just amazing to us.”
Watch Bella and George in this short video below!
George will always have a special place in the hearts of the Burton family. “He’s totally a member of the family now,” said Burton.
In other news, this elderly dog’s reaction to getting a puppy for Christmas has gone viral! Watch the video in the next article below!