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Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care

For many young people, drug use and experimentation is a rite of passage of sorts. However, experimenting with drugs and alcohol is far from harmless, and can often result in lifelong...

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Our Adopting a Pet Experts

Diana L. Guerrero

Diana L. Guerrero

Animal behaviorist and author of Blessing of the Animals...

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Dr. Robyn Jaynes

Dr. Robyn Jaynes

Pet care expert for PetSmart

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Warren Eckstein

Warren Eckstein

Pet trainer and author of Pet Aerobics

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A Girl and Her Dog

They say dog is man’s best friend, but in one special case, a dog has bonded deeply with his owner, as they share a similar muscular disorder.

Gabrielle “Gabe” Ford was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia as a teenager. The neuromuscular disorder made it hard for her to keep her balance and slurred her speech. As a result, she was taunted and bullied by her classmates throughout her school years, and became depressed and withdrawn. As a young woman in her twenties, she adopted a pet  because she needed a friend. Gabe’s dog Izzy became her constant companion and a true friend.

When Izzy’s vet diagnosed him with a rare muscle disease similar to Gabe’s, dog and owner bonded further—the two were profiled on Animal Planet, and now Gabe and Izzy travel to schools to share their story and encourage kids and teens to stop bullying. She is also working on an autobiography to be published at the end of the year.

Do you have a story to share about an adopted pet that’s helped you through a difficult time? [MSNBC]

Posted: 4/15/08