Sign In

Ella And Her Pets

September 23, 2020

My 10-year-old daughter with SMA, Ella, loves animals, so much so that she has a computer game simulating the adoption, trading, and buying of animals with others. She and her friends play that game every day.

We have several animals in the house, including two vizsla  dogs — Ginny, 3, and Radcliffe, 7 months. While their breed  originally was a Hungarian hunting dog, we don’t hunt with them. They are smart, loyal to their owners, and affectionate.

We also have a bunny named Pixie that lives in the living room in a two-story cage.

Every morning, I get Ella, who has SMA, dressed in her room. When she’s ready, I carry her downstairs. Both Ginny and Radcliffe wait patiently for her to arrive at the bottom of the stairs. I take Ella to the living room and place her in the wheelchair.

The dogs follow us and wait until I strap Ella in. Once she’s strapped in, the dogs approach her with their tails wagging and bodies excitedly moving. Radcliffe, a puppy, jumps on Ella’s lap and gives her morning kisses. Ella squeals in delight.

When Ella moves forward, the dogs already are familiar with her chair’s movements, and they create a path for her. Ginny, tail wagging, usually follows Ella into the kitchen.

Ella turns her chair toward the dogs and lifts her arm commanding them to sit. She commands Radcliffe to give her his paw, and he obliges. Praises and kisses are given.

Every so often, we take the bunny out for Ella to hold on her lap. The bunny nuzzles in Ella’s lap, and she pets the rabbit carefully so as not to scare her. Meanwhile, the dogs sit patiently in front of Ella, sniffing the bunny every so often.

Ella has told us she would like a service dog at some point in her life. While we know it takes a few years to train these dogs, we believe Ella would benefit from having one. She loves animals, is good with them, and they seem to understand her disability. Maybe someday  we will take the plunge and look into this option for Ella’s care.

Each day that goes by, Ella becomes closer and closer to our animals. She delights in their affection and has a command over them. We’re fortunate to have found a breed that is so endearing to our family, and we look forward to many years of the unconditional love that they offer.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more