An 11-year-old girl with a rare genetic condition called Morquio Syndrome has finally taken her first steps in nine years, thanks to the help of her Great Dane service dog. Bella Burton, from Woburn, Massachusetts, had struggled with mobility issues despite undergoing more than ten surgeries and endless physical therapy. Bella’s condition affects her bone growth, causing dwarfism and organ damage.
After being paired with George, a 130-pound Great Dane service dog, Bella is finally able to move around on her own. George has helped improve Bella’s mobility and morale more than any other therapy she’s undergone. As her constant companion, he not only assists her in walking but also joins her in playing at the gym, and having fun with friends outdoors. When the night falls, he remains by her side, keeping a watchful eye to ensure her safety.
George is one of over 100 Great Danes that Service Dog Project (SDP) has donated to individuals with severe balance and mobility limitations. Once these furry companions are matched with an applicant, their training goes above and beyond to cater to the individual’s specific needs. Bella’s life changed dramatically when she was introduced to George, a Great Dane, just last year.
With George by her side, Bella can confidently stroll through the corridors of her school and climb up and down the stairs with ease. He even knows where all of her classes are and will take a nap while she’s in class. If Bella falls, she tells George to “brace,” which means he will stand and won’t even budge, allowing her to pull herself up.
Their inspiring story has touched the hearts of people across the globe, as countless fans eagerly follow the heartwarming updates about Bella and George on their popular Facebook page. Bella and George’s story has even caught the attention of the American Kennel Club, who will be honoring George with an Award for Canine Excellence at a ceremony in December.
Service dogs like George provide a valuable service and have enhanced the quality of life for their owners. They’ve been placed with children, war veterans, individuals with Mutiple Sclerosis, Friedreich’s Ataxia, and more. While Bella’s story is inspiring, it’s important to remember that there are many others like her who could benefit from a service dog. With more awareness and support, more individuals could receive the help they need to lead fully active lives.
For Bella, George is not just a service dog, he’s become her best friend too. Their bond is truly remarkable, and it’s clear that George has become a valued member of the family. Bella can now participate in activities like running around on the playground and going on bike rides comfortably. Thanks to the support of her beloved pooch George, Bella’s life has been forever changed for the better.