HARRISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — After nearly four years and lots of community support, a Harrison County girl who suffers from multiple severe health issues now has the service dog she so desperately needed.
"It was almost immediate that they started bonding, " said Cassidy Menard, the older sister of 16-year-old Bella.
Two-year-old Zodiac, a Standard Poodle, is the newest member of the Menard family. He is proving to be invaluable.
"We can take a breath, we can just... breathe," Cassidy Menard said.
Sixteen year-old Bella battles multiple heart conditions, autism, juvenile dementia and suffers from a rare form of epilepsy resulting in as many as 40 seizures a day. Now, Zodiac is by her side in both good times and bad. The certified service dog eases anxiety, provides comfort and alerts to seizures, sometimes giving hours of advanced notice.
If she's in another room and she ends up having a seizure, he barks to let us know there's something wrong," Cassidy said. "If she's having a seizure or if she falls out of the bed he will bark to let us know."
Zodiac's presence is not only just a help to Bella, but also to her mom and sister who now have added peace of mind. They also have not had to do CPR on Bella since receiving Zodiac, which is a stark change from administering it multiple times a week. As a bonus, they have watched Bella come out of her shell.
"It's also amazing to see how much Bella has her confidence. It's so much more... she talks more to people, people talk to her," Cassidy explained.
The Standard Poodle was trained by 4 Paws For Ability in Xenia, Ohio, and even spent time at the University of Kentucky chapter.
Life will never be without its struggles for Bella, but with Zodiac by her side it will certainly be much smoother.
"It's hard to remember a time without him in our family," Cassidy said of Zodac.