Olivia is an 8-year-old girl who loves watching movies, eating cookies and reading the Fancy Nancy book series with her mom. In March of 2017, Olivia began to have difficulty reading and writing, experienced headaches and started having memory and balance issues. She was soon diagnosed with a rare nervous system disorder. Olivia and her family then relocated to Pittsburgh for seven months so she could receive treatment that could stall the progression of her illness.
Growing up, Olivia was very close with her dog, Inca. Unfortunately, Inca passed away when Olivia was only four. So when Olivia found out that she was eligible for a wish, she knew that the perfect thing to wish for was a service dog who could be her constant companion.
Welcome Home Mia
Soon after her wish was made, Olivia and her family got to meet Mia the golden doodle. “She was a little nervous to meet Mia but was also very happy and excited,” said Olivia’s mom, Yvonne, describing her daughter’s reaction to her wish being granted. The entire family has already bonded and fallen in love with Mia. Olivia’s parents have even begun referring to Mia as “one of the girls”!
A Furry Friend’s Impact
In addition to being a companion for Olivia, Mia has begun helping her by retrieving things in their house and alerting Olivia’s parents if she falls. The family has also trained Mia to hold doors open for Olivia when she is in her wheelchair. Since Mia arrived, Olivia has become more confident when interacting with other kids in public. But perhaps most importantly, she has begun smiling and laughing more than she has since her diagnosis. Olivia and Mia now share a bond that will endure any future doctor’s appointments and will bring joy and strength to Olivia each and every day.