A friendship between a dog and disabled girl

Alida and Mr. Gibbs 

by Isabella Rueda

This book is dedicated to Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Mancuso

Alida And Mr. Gibbs

     Running together, a small blonde girl and her puppy are playing. But something connects the two. A tube travels from the dogs vest to the girls nose piece. This little girl  has NEHI, a lung disease making it hard to breath without special help of that very tube.

     This little girl, named Alida Knobloch, at eight months old was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy, also known as NEHI. NEHI is a rare lung disease that causes shallow breathing and increased heart rate. So far, it is so rare that only 800 people have been diagnosed worldwide.

     With Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy, gaining weight is difficult because oxygen is used up so fast for energy. So far, though, thankfully, nobody has died from NEHI, and it is said it will wear off with some growth.

 

     This little girl, named Alida Knobloch, at eight months old was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy, also known as NEHI. NEHI is a rare lung disease that causes shallow breathing and increased heart rate. So far, it is so rare that only 800 people have been diagnosed worldwide.

     With Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy, gaining weight is difficult because oxygen is used up so fast for energy. So far, though, thankfully, nobody has died from NEHI, and it is said it will wear off with some growth.

 

"A girl in ohio had a dog that carried oxygen. Thats when it clicked what we need is her oxygen to follow her, and a service dog is how to do it"

     Alida Knobloch as of today, is only 3 years old. She lives in Louisville, Georgia. While she is a normal, playful, silly girl most of the time, but because of her disease, the only way she can stay healthy, is to carry and oxygen tank everywhere with her. This really limits her activity options.

     Oxygen in the tank can run out eventually, which if not mentioned, would be bad. Alida can feel when her oxygen is running low, so whenever it is, she will say “my o is running low” her “O” being her oxygen. Her parents will deal with the rest.

 

The Knobloches celebrate a merry Christmas

     Every so often, Alida does have a habit of trying to pull out her tubes, but once her parents remind her thats not good, she stops.Sadly, she has never been able to play freely without one of her parents connected to her with a tube, because they had to carry her air tank, until now.

     The oxygen tank is carried by her parents because she is only two and it is six pounds. That would be incredibly hard for a little girl to carry, not to mention, play with.

 

     Aaron and Debbie Knobloch, her parents, have always wanted the best for Alida. They always did everything they could for her. Soon, it had come to giving the 2 year old a walker with a pocket in it, which she eventually grew out of into a running, jumping, playing toddler. But one day, as the family was watching tv, they saw a commercial.

     The commercial was about service dogs. Aaron and Debbie both realized the answer to alida’s freedom was simple: Get her a service dog.

 

     Mr. Gibbs was the best one to Alida. Also, he had an impressive pedigree and education. Usually, the youngest age dogs are taught to listen to are five year olds. That is what is making it harder for teaching him to listen.

     The puppy lived with his service dog trainer, Ashleigh Kinsleigh, who had just finished up his basic training when the Knobloch’s came to choose a dog. They were not sure about him due to his small size, but Alida went crazy for him. That pretty much sealed the deal. Kinsleigh began training Mr. Gibbs in his new job: carrying the tank on his back while following the little girl everywhere.

 

     Mr. Gibbs was the best one to Alida. Also, he had an impressive pedigree and education. Usually, the youngest age dogs are taught to listen to are five year olds. That is what is making it harder for teaching him to listen.

     The puppy lived with his service dog trainer, Ashleigh Kinsleigh, who had just finished up his basic training when the Knobloch’s came to choose a dog. They were not sure about him due to his small size, but Alida went crazy for him. That pretty much sealed the deal. Kinsleigh began training Mr. Gibbs in his new job: carrying the tank on his back while following the little girl everywhere.

 

     For the first part of training, Mr. Gibbs had to live with kinsleigh. After some more teaching and learning for Mr. Gibbs, he was theirs to keep.

     “He had to learn to get under the table at restaurants,” Kinsleigh says. “He had to learn that if there were other animals he couldn’t just go and play with them. He had to stay right next to his girl and ignore all the fun things around him. He also had to build up to be able to carry around the full weight of the 6 pound tank.”

 

     “His job is to go wherever she goes and do whatever she does,” Kinsleigh explains. “If she wants to get on the bike and go down the driveway he has to learn to run alongside. If she’s going to ride on a slide, he has to learn to climb up and slide down behind her.”

 

     “His job is to go wherever she goes and do whatever she does,” Kinsleigh explains. “If she wants to get on the bike and go down the driveway he has to learn to run alongside. If she’s going to ride on a slide, he has to learn to climb up and slide down behind her.”

 

The Knobloch's take a fun trip to disney together

     Mr. Gibbs is a goldendoodle breed. though he is only a puppy, he still listens to commands well. Mr. gibbs is still being taught to obey her. He knows he has to go everywhere with her, and if he sees other dogs having fun, he can't tag along. Even though hes still being taught, he listens just fine to Aaron and Debbie. But not so much with Alida. It does not help, that she can be a little hard to understand at times.

 

     Alida and Mr. Gibbs watch televison together

     “That’s why we’re doing this so early,” Aaron said. “We’re hoping by the time she gets to kindergarten it will all be figured out and there won’t be any training left to be done and they’ll just go to school.”

     “That’s why we’re doing this so early,” Aaron said. “We’re hoping by the time she gets to kindergarten it will all be figured out and there won’t be any training left to be done and they’ll just go to school.”

     "Alida LOVES to just walk around outside. This is Aaron, Alida and Cinder walking down our driveway."

     But by then, she might not even need his help anymore. "There is some good news. The damaged tissue in Alida's lungs is not growing, so as the healthy tissue around it increases we've been told that eventually she may be able to do without the oxygen during the day," Debbie says. But for now, she needs to keep Mr. Gibbs at her side 24/7.

 

     Scampering down the slide or running in the backyard, no matter where they are, or what they are doing, Alida and Mr. Gibbs are always together, and not just because she needs him. They are truly best friends and Alida loves him so much she calls him “My best dog”.

     Today, the two inseparable friends can be found in the park, at the playground, or anywhere just hanging out together. School has recently started, and they are doing good with keeping on track and staying calm.

     Isabella Rueda is a sixth grader that lives in a small town in westchester county. She enjoys arts and crafts and music.

About the Author

Alida Knobloch, at just 8 months old, was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy, or NEHI. Staying healthy for her demands carrying an oxygen tank. This would be fine, if it weren't 6 pounds and had to be carried everywhere. Alida’s family has always searched for different and simple ways to make this tank portable and easy, and her father even made her a infant walker with a pouch. But of course, the infant eventually grew out of this baby seat into a walking, playing, running little girl. Into their lives, trotting, comes Mr. Gibbs, a Golden Doodle service dog, after watching a commercial that would change all of their lives forever.