Dog Opens World for Young Girl in Wheelchair

By PetcoFoundation on Mar. 23, 2017


Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Suzanne Williams won Detroit Bully Corps in Detroit, Michigan a 2016 Holiday Wishes award. 

Many people say they rescued their pet. But Groucho, a pit bull, rescued our Erinne, who was 12-years-old at the time.

Groucho had lived in a Detroit drug house and faced almost certain death.

Erinne has a terminal illness, Lou Gehrig's disease for little kids, which slowly robs her of her ability to walk, sit up, feed herself, write her name and even breathe independently.


Erinne is confined to a wheelchair and is on a ventilator. She had finished a particularly rough hospital stay (her 26th) when she met Groucho at a Detroit Bully Corps adoption event.

For years, Erinne wanted a pit bull because of how misunderstood they are as a breed. It was love at first site.


After careful vetting, Detroit Bully Corps met Erinne and decided her and Groucho belonged together. Many animals are afraid of Erinne's wheelchair, but when Groucho first arrived he climbed on the wheelchair’s footplate and sat down at Erinne's feet. He looked into her eyes with newfound love. Everyone in the room was moved to tears at his love and kindness.

Erinne drove Groucho throughout the house on her wheelchair cementing their forever bond. Groucho changed Erinne's outlook on life. She often feels like an outcast in her wheelchair, a forgotten part of society – just like pit bulls.656995290-Groucho-and-Erinne_edited-for-blog.jpg

When the disease confines Erinne to her bed, Groucho is by her side with a paw on her shoulder. When she is in her wheelchair, Groucho climbs up on her footplate and kisses away her tears of pain. It's like he wants to be her service dog in the worst way.

On Erinne’s good days, I slip a harness on Groucho so Erinne can proudly walk him up and down the street. Groucho appears just as proud to walk alongside her wheelchair. He wags his tail and looks at her with such love.

Learn more about the Petco Foundation by visiting www.petcofoundation.org.

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