A family decided to gift their daughter with cerebral palsy a puppy as a Christmas gift, after she had been through years of physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Five-year-old Briella Naif, from Michigan, has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy from the age of 21 months, which has affected her balance, movement and leg coordination.
She has greatly benefited from physical therapy in terms of being able to walk, and her speech therapy has helped her form words, but she still uses American Sign Language to communicate when she is unable to say some words.
Briella was asking her mother, Caroline for a dog for some time now, and when she saw her daughter walk with a toy dog in therapy, Caroline knew what she had to do.
So on November 20, the family bought an eight-week-old pomsky Mieka, and surprised Briella who laughed gleefully throughout the way with her new pup on her lap.
Watch: Briella’s Sweetest Reaction To Getting A Puppy
Caroline said: “She had been asking for a dog everyday this past year and she would sign ‘little dog’. Briella needed a companion and emotional support dog. With all of her hard work in physical therapy programs and watching her take so many independent steps, I knew getting a dog would be so motivating for her.
“I knew in one of the last days of therapy when I watched her walk independently with a little toy dog that we just had to get her a real one.
“Briella loves Mieka’s soft fur and her blue eyes. She also loves when she wags her tail and sticks her tongue out.”
She hopes Mieka will be a support to Briella and motivate her to carry on walking in the hopes that one day she will able to walk without any support. She said: “Briella faces many difficulties daily, primarily being able to move around and with her speech.
“Cerebral Palsy affects muscle movement, coordination and balance. She is working hard in physical therapy to gain strength for walking independently and for a better quality of life as she continues to grow. Briella also uses sign language to help communicate to others.
“Briella is a happy and smiley five-year-old girl who doesn’t let cerebral palsy stop her.”
Animals are being increasingly used in therapy and we are sure that the way Briella and Mieka are bonding, she is surely going to benefit from having a real dog as motivation during physical therapy.