In Suffolk, England, 29-year-old Chloe Bellotti recently discovered something very special. And it made her feel normal for the very first time in her life. Chloe has spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that causes extreme muscle weakness. She’s confined to a wheelchair and has around-the-clock care.
For most all of us, it’s hard to imagine living a life like this. And it’s been really rough on Chloe, but she was given a black labrador that can do some amazing things, and because of that, the woman feels like she truly has a new lease on life.
Her assistant dog is named Morris, and Morris really is pretty incredible. How about this: He can load her washing machine, collect money from an ATM and pay for groceries. And that just scratches the surface. Because of Morris, Chloe has a great deal of independence – something she’s never had before.
Says Chloe: “Every day I am left in awe of what Morris could do, and how this sweet boy simply wanted to please me. ‘I had always dreamed of being able to do the things I used to do before life became such a struggle. But never in a million years did I anticipate that it could actually happen; then came Morris. It’s the little things I notice most, like being able to open and close doors through Morris rather than asking for assistance of others, or how he patiently picks up an item that I’ve dropped five times already because my hands are not working well that day.
‘I used to be stuck to my carer, but now, Morris and I can go off and my carer will be there as a safety precaution. Morris also bridges the gap with strangers and removes the stigma attached to my disability. Instead of being someone that is “pitied,” I now have a bond with Morris that people envy.
Morris has even given me the confidence to overcome my fear of public speaking and we have now given numerous talks about Canine Partners and have organised many fundraising events.”
So with Morris, Chloe now has a much better outlook on life. With him, she feels, she can do anything. And, actually, she probably can.