Bella Burton – a 13-year-old girl from New Hampshire, was born with a very rare disorder called the Morquio syndrome. Due to it, the teen wasn’t able to walk anymore, and she never thought she’ll ever be able to do it again. But everything has changed when she met George – a 2-year-old gentle giant service dog!
It only took less than six months in George’s company for Bella to walk again! “My leg muscles got really weak and it was hard to walk, but once I got George it kind of forced me to walk,” the girl explained. “It didn’t seem like work, it kind of seemed just like hanging out with all my friends and the animals.”
Bella’s family learned about her disorder when she was around two year old, and since then, they have tried different treatments, but none of them really helped her. Then, they just heard about service dogs, and thought to give it a try. It is how Bella was matched with George. It happened at the the Service Dog Project in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where she volunteered.
“Once we saw Bella being around those dogs, how she was always in such a great mood and she loved going there, we thought, ‘What are we waiting for?'” Bella’s mother, Rachel said.
Despite she loves animals so much, the dogs didn’t like her at first, except George!
“I started to volunteer at the service dog and it was just fun because I got to spend time with all of my favourite animals all of the time,” Bella said. “I liked all of the dogs, but none of them really liked me. It’s because of my voice, it’s like high pitched…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.”
Since then, Bella and her family started to take George home, for the weekends first, and then permanently. Shortly, Bella and the service dog, became inseparable companions. But the gentle giant proved to be more than just a friend, because thanks to him, Bella is now able to run, ride the bicycle and even swim.
“George knew what Bella needed and right when she needed it,” Rachel said. “If she was having a good day and could walk faster, he would walk faster…He’s totally a member of the family now.”
More about this inspiring story in the video below!