Last night, as I typically do, I had the TV turned to ABC’s World News Tonight hosted by David Muir as I prepared and then ate dinner. Sometimes, I find it is merely background noise, something to fill the house with the sound, but occasionally, there will be a story on air that truly speaks to me. Little did I know, however, how much it would impact me in particular, last night. At first, I was barely listening, watching the TV screen, but not actually absorbing what was airing, until the image of a small child named Bella and a large, 131-pound Great Dane, named George graced the screen. At first glance, what a pair they were, walking side by side, albeit the same height, but a significant difference in weight and body shape. Though, as the story continued to air, I quickly realized how significant of a relationship they actually have; well beyond that of a traditional pet.
For those of you who might have missed the story last night, here is a link to the video: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/special-bond-young-girl-rare-genetic-disorder-service-34980708
For Bella, George is not only her dog, but her constant support, teacher and guide. Born with a rare genetic disorder and diagnosed at age 2, she was unable to walk and potentially confined to a wheelchair. However, enter George, a Great Dane service dog, who has been by her side now for years, aiding her in walking, serving as her constant companion from the moment she wakes until she sleeps, with George still by her side, providing comfort, guidance and a watchful eye. As I watched Bella and George’s story on TV, I was overcome with emotion, true, raw emotion. Sitting beside my mom as I watched, tears filled my eyes and then down my face, as the bond of Bella and George was one evoking an emotional reaction behind words. As a dog owner myself, for over 13 and a half years, I know firsthand of the bond between a human and their dog. The journey of Bella and George is an incredible story of how dogs can truly change lives, not only as companions, but as a true guide and helper. Each day, George is beside Bella, aiding her in mobility and the everyday activities of living. He helps her live her life as a child her age should be able to live – with the freedom of movement and the ability to explore. Watching them walk beside each other, with George in step with her every move, brought not only tears to my eyes, but also a smile, so proud to see dogs being honored and embraced in this way, giving them the spotlight, they deserve.