Young Spina Bifida patient finds help, comfort in canine companion

(PICKAWAY COUNTY) WCMH — An eight-year-old girl with spina bifida is making big improvements with the help of a Canine Companion.

Eight-year-old Rachel Watton is comforted by her service dog Linda during a hospital visit.
Eight-year-old Rachel Watton is comforted by her service dog Linda during a hospital visit.

For years, the Watton family struggled to find a service dog they could afford.

“I put the idea in the back of my mind because I was defeated at that point as to what to do with Rachel,” mother Heidi Watton said.

“I knew she needed something, but it was

out of my reach.”

In August, the Watton family finally got their wish.Rachel and Linda

Canine Companions for Independence in Delaware said they had a match for Rachel. Rachel was given two-year-old Labrador, Linda, at no cost.

“It feels very comforting,” Rachel Watton said. “I love Linda very much.”

Linda knows more than 40 commands to help Rachel with everyday life. She can pick up a hair brush, turn lights on and off, close doors, and even comfort her while she makes trips to the hospital.

IMG_1478“It will warm you from head to toe watching your kid that doesn’t have a lot of friends just hug and love and sing and talk to this animal,” Heidi Watton said. “This dog that loves her unconditionally and doesn’t care she’s in a wheelchair, just doesn’t care. She just loves her and gives back the same amount of love Rachel gives to her.”

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