Not only are dogs man’s best friend, but they can also be a little girl’s best friend. Alida, a 3-year-old girl who lives in Louisville, Georgia, has to breathe through tubes 24 hours a day, and the oxygen that allows her to live is contained in heavy metal canisters. Through the help of her canine friend, Alida is free to be the rambunctious little girl she was meant to be.
When Alida was an infant, she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine hyperplasia of infancy (NEHI). This is a condition that affected how much oxygen was circulating into Alida’s blood, and this meant that she would have to get her oxygen through breathing tubes. The cumbersome oxygen canisters, however, presented a problem. Alida is a toddler on the go, and her parents scrambled to figure out an easier way to tote the canisters around.
One day, Alida’s parents learned about the wonderful resources of service dogs, and they found out that one dog in particular, Mr. Gibbs, could be of help to Alida. So, the family packed up their belongings and moved from Utah to a place 2,000 miles away to unite Mr. Gibbs with Alida.
Mr. Gibbs is trained to be Alida’s service dog, and he follows her wherever she goes. Strapped to him are the oxygen tanks, which are now not a problem if Alida wants to play on the playground or explore the family’s 10-acre estate. The two really are best friends, and Mr. Gibbs takes special care of Alida.