The start of the coronavirus pandemic was hard on everyone, but some were worse off than others. While the world panicked about the spreading virus, an 8-year-old girl was also diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Young Mia Vane has been unable to return to school since then as doctors continue to find ways to help her. But like all kids, she knows there’s one cure to every disease: a dog!
Dogs make everything better, which is why Mia was gifted a service dog to help look after her. Now, she has someone that can protect her and cuddle with her all at the same time.
Mia has aplastic anemia, which is a blood disorder that damages bone marrow. It causes Mia’s body to stop producing the right amount of new blood cells to fight infection, making minor injuries much more severe. This disorder is incredibly rare, only affecting about one in a million each year. Mia said bruises obtained during her soccer game were the first sign.
“I just started bruising after I was playing soccer,” Mia explained. “And they just started getting all purple and stuff.”
Due to the severity of Mia’s disorder, she cannot risk getting COVID-19. All injuries, no matter how minor, send her to emergency care. Right now, medications are the one thing keeping her aplastic anemia in check. And sadly, a bone marrow transplant is the only cure, which is incredibly risky.
But there is one more thing that could help Mia. The young girl has always dreamed of having a dog, and as it turns out, service dogs can be trained to help with her disorder. So, Mia’s family searched for ways to make that dream a reality.
A Dog’s Healing Powers
Blake Brady, Mia’s aunt, created a video to nominate Mia for the 4E Kennels Healing Hearts program. 4E Kennels gifts service dogs to families in need, and they agreed that Mia is very deserving of a specially trained dog. Fully-trained service dogs often cost up to $25,000.
Jeanette Forrey of 4E Kennels trained a Goldendoodle puppy named Dougie to specifically fit Mia’s needs. At 10 months old, Dougie is ready to assist his new human as needed. Dougie is trained to apply “deep pressure therapy” to Mia when she’s not feeling well. He will put pressure on her legs or lean up against her to comfort her and help her feel better.
Mia and her aunt appeared on Good Morning America to discuss her disorder. But what Mia didn’t know was that she was about to meet her new best friend. Forrey surprised Mia by bringing Dougie out and introducing them for the first time. Of course, Mia was in awe of this kind gesture.
“It’s gonna let her be a kid again,” said Brady. “It’s gonna free her up to be a kid.”
Mia is currently working on training with Dougie to help her bond with him more. The Vane family said that Dougie has already stolen their hearts and is truly a part of the family. Hopefully, his special training and his snuggles will help keep Mia going during such a difficult time in her life.