In the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, lives an 11-year-old girl named Bella Burton who, for most of her life, faced a challenging condition known as Morquio Syndrome. This rare genetic disorder severely hindered her bone growth and restricted her ability to move. Despite enduring over ten surgeries and countless physical therapies, Bella struggled to walk without the aid of crutches or a wheelchair.
George, the Great Dane Service Dog
Bella’s life took a remarkable turn when she was introduced to George, a remarkable 130-pound Great Dane trained as a service dog at the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts. While Bella and George stand at the same height, George outweighs her by three times. The Service Dog Project (SDP) has provided nearly 100 Great Danes as service animals to individuals dealing with severe balance and mobility issues, making a significant impact on their lives.
SDP’s mission has touched the lives of various individuals, including children, military veterans, those with multiple sclerosis, and individuals like Bella with conditions such as Friedreich’s ataxia. Each service dog undergoes rigorous training, and once paired with an applicant, they are specifically trained to meet the individual’s unique needs.
For Bella, George has been a game-changer. Since their meeting a year ago, he has not only improved her mobility but also lifted her spirits in ways that no other therapy could. Bella’s condition, Morquio Syndrome, is a degenerative metabolic disorder that affects only 3,000 people worldwide. She shared how George has become an essential part of her daily life.
Bella now relies on George as her walking aid at school, in the hallways, and even on staircases. He knows her class locations and stays by her side, providing both physical support and emotional comfort. Bella no longer needs crutches, and she trusts George to help her stay safe, even if she falls.
Thanks to George, Bella can now lead an active life that includes playing on the playground and enjoying bike rides. George has become an indispensable member of their family, ensuring Bella’s safety during outdoor activities and keeping her company at night.
Bella and George’s incredible bond has captured the hearts of people worldwide. Many have followed their journey through their Facebook page, celebrating their triumphs and sharing in their joy.
In recognition of George’s exceptional contribution to Bella’s life, the American Kennel Club plans to present him with an Award for Canine Excellence during an upcoming event in December. This award acknowledges dogs that substantially influence the lives of their owners and communities.
While George’s story is extraordinary, it’s a reminder of the special bond between humans and dogs that has existed for thousands of years. Dogs, our faithful companions, offer much more than meets the eye.
**Q1: What is Morquio Syndrome?**
A1: Morquio Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that inhibits bone growth and restricts movement. It affects only a small number of individuals worldwide.
**Q2: How did George help Bella?**
A2: George, the Great Dane service dog, provided physical support to Bella, enabling her to stand and walk without crutches. He also offered emotional comfort and companionship.
**Q3: What is the Service Dog Project (SDP)?**
A3: The Service Dog Project is an organization that provides Great Danes as service animals to individuals dealing with severe balance and mobility issues.
**Q4: How can service dogs like George be trained?**
A4: Service dogs undergo rigorous training to meet the specific needs of their individual partners. They are trained to perform tasks that aid their partners’ mobility and improve their quality of life.
**Q5: How has George impacted Bella’s life?**
A5: George has transformed Bella’s life by improving her mobility and allowing her to engage in activities she couldn’t before. He has become her reliable support system and closest companion.
**Q6: What recognition will George receive?**
A6: George will receive an Award for Canine Excellence from the American Kennel Club for substantially influencing Bella’s life and their community.
**Q7: What is the significance of the bond between humans and dogs?**
A7: The bond between humans and dogs is a deeply rooted and special relationship that has endured for thousands of years. Dogs provide companionship, support, and love to their human counterparts.