Poorly Alida gets breath of life from dog that carries around her oxygen tank
3/16/2012 6:03:43 PM -
Little Alida Knobloch has been given the breath of life - by a dog that carries around an oxygen tank strapped to his back.
The three year-old suffers from a rare illness - known as neuroendocrine hyperplasia - that means her lungs have difficulty absorbing oxygen.
She needs constant oxygen so Goldendoodle (a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle) Mr Gibbs has been specially trained to carry her tank wherever she goes so she has more freedom of movement.
Alida said: "He's my best dog."
Before his arrival even a walk in the park was very difficult for Alida, from Loganville, Georgia, US, because equipment was too heavy for her to carry it herself.
Her parents struggled to come up with a suitable solution until they saw a TV programme about "service dogs".
They realised an animal trained to help the blind could be trained to help their daughter. And now Alida and Mr Gibbs love nothing more than playing and running around together.
Alida was diagnosed with the condition when she was eight months old. The illness was only discovered in 2005 and affects just 800 people worldwide.
Her mum Debbie, 39, a nurse, said Alida and Mr Gibbs were growing up together and learning all the time.
She told Fox News Atlanta: "Alida never complains about her condition, at the moment she does have a habit of trying to pull out her tubes, though. We have to tell her that's not a good idea.
"She loves Mr Gibbs and he loves her too. We're trying to make life easier for her and she's just now starting to realise she's different, but as the bond between her and Gibbs gets stronger, we think things will get better.
"As a pair they do work well together, Mr Gibbs has the oxygen tank on his back and then Alida has his leash."
Debbie is now working with the Child Foundation Charity to raise funds to help families both in the US and the UK with research into the new disease.
To make a donation, visit www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/sweetalida/nehi.