Bella Burton is now able to walk thanks to her Great Dane service dog. She was diagnosed with a rare condition called Morquio syndrome when she was a toddler.
Morquio is a rare progressive disorder that manifests due to a lack of a specific enzyme. It impacts mobility making it hard to walk and move around.
Her doctors told her she wouldn’t be able to walk anymore once she hit a certain age. And that seemed to come true—Bella began having to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around.
That was, until she got George, her Great Dane service dog. Thanks to him, she can now walk, run, play, swim, and do many other things she wasn’t able to do before.
In fact, she’s the only person with Morquio who can ride a bike!
Her parents were not looking for a service dog, but George came into their lives as a result of their volunteer efforts at Service Dog Project.
One day Bella was with her parents at the Service Dog Progect, started talking to George, and the dog took to her like an old friend.
Bella says that she “could tell he needed me, and I needed him.” She said the first time she walked with George was incredible. She couldn’t believe she could walk again after not walking for so long.
Bella sings George’s praises, explaining that he’s the reason she enjoys her current level of independence, all thanks to his hard work.
She says he’s “joyful, always happy, and he’s always there to cheer you up. He’s my best friend.”
The two of them are inseparable. Bella leans on the dog while holding on to the harness attached to George’s very large frame to support her weight and help her balance so she can walk.
George loves the snow, burgers, beef jerky, bones, and of course his human, Bella. Bella, thanks to George, loves hanging out with her friends and playing sports.
The Service Dog Project is a nonprofit organization training and donating Great Dane service dogs to those in need. They give preference to families in the local region as well as military veterans.