WADSWORTH, Ohio (WJW) – It is one of the many simple joys of life for 17-year-old Reagan Collura: riding shotgun in a golf cart through her Wadsworth neighborhood with her mom, Dottie, and the newest member of the family, a 4-month-old standard poodle, Stella.
“[Stella] would just learn where she was supposed to take her and the dog would essentially guide her to those places,” said Dottie Collura.
Stella is currently being trained as a support animal for Reagan, who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder.
She is cognitively impaired and non-verbal, which often manifests into high levels of anxiety.
The sudden passing of her previous 11-year-old canine companion, Floppy, from spleen cancer was devastating.
“Reagan really didn’t understand what was going on when we had to make the decision to say goodbye,” Dottie said.
And now, in comes Stella. She is still in that playful, puppy stage, and her expensive training to become an advanced service dog is just getting underway.
“[To make sure] that the dog is desensitized to sound and can go into grocery stores and do a variety of things,” Dottie said.
The family created a GoFundMe account, inching closer to a $12,000 goal.
“We already see the bond forming and I know that they’re gonna be great partners in life,” Dottie said.
It’s a bond that will hopefully last for years to come.
Service dog training is expected to last for up to a year.
Reagan will be celebrating her 18th birthday on Wednesday, July 28.