Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18

COURTESY CHILDREN'S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA

Tidings brings a smile to young Barrett Mullen at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

member can't. They're much more willing to walk a dog
in the hospital. And it can help them with their selfesteem by giving them unconditional love. The dogs and
their handlers are all amazing. For all of us, it truly is a
labor of love."
To learn more about Canines For Kids or to donate,
visit giving.choa.org/caninesforkids.
Pamela A. Keene is a freelance writer living in
Flowery Branch.

web exclusive

For more on therapy animals, see page 18A in this
month's digital edition, online at georgiamagazine.org.
web exclusive

More than a service dog

LOUIS TONSMEIRE

Many of the canine-training agenLate one night four years ago, Debcies Aaron Knobloch contacted had
bie and Aaron Knobloch of Loganville
waiting lists, and none was willing to
awoke to the sound of a dog barking in
work with handlers (the term used for
their home. Earlier that evening they
the person the dog partners with) as
had tucked their then-4-year-old daughyoung as Alida.
ter, Alida, into bed, and her service dog,
"We found Ashleigh Kinsley in
Mr. Gibbs, a golden retriever/poodle
Loganville, and even though she said
mix, was in his usual place right beside
she'd never trained a dog for someone
it. He usually didn't bark during the
as young as Alida, she thought it could
night unless he needed to go outside.
be done," he says.
"We tried to take him out, but he
That was June 2011, and Alida
just kept barking," says Debbie Knobwas
then
2 years old. Mr. Gibbs has
loch. "After the third attempt we went
been
part
of the Knobloch family ever
in Alida's room, and Mr. Gibbs had
since. Aaron Knobloch is quick to point
hopped up onto the bed and stood right
out that Mr. Gibbs was not trained to
over her. Then we saw that her cannula
be a medical-alert dog.
[a flexible, plastic tube] had come out
An important member of the Knobloch family,
"His job has been to carry Alida's
of her nose and she wasn't getting oxy- Mr. Gibbs helps Alida, front left, by carrying her
oxygen tanks. In this family portrait, mom Deboxygen tanks so that she could be more
gen. As soon as we put it back in, he
lay down at her feet and was as calm as bie and dad Aaron pose with Alida, her younger mobile," he says. "He carries them in
a specially designed harness and goes
could be. He may have saved her life." sister, Arella, and Mr. Gibbs.
with her everywhere-school, out with
Before she was even 1 year old,
us for dinner, after-school activities and even church. He's the
Alida was diagnosed with a rare lung disease called neuroensmartest dog I've ever had."
docrine cell hyperplasia of infancy (NEHI).
When Mr. Gibbs is wearing his vest, he's working and,
"Basically, it means that oxygen in her lungs can't make
like all service dogs, shouldn't be distracted.
the transition into her blood. If she is off oxygen for too long,
"The hardest challenge is keeping people from petting
her heart and breathing rate go really high to compensate.
him," Aaron Knobloch says. "He really is working, and he
We have to tank her up [on oxygen] to help her recover," says
needs to always pay attention to Alida."
Aaron Knobloch.
But even a working dog gets a chance to play.
When Alida was a toddler, her father built a cart for the
"The kids at school know when Mr. Gibbs is wearing his
oxygen tanks that she could push around the house.
vest, he's working, and they know not to pet him," Debbie
"We soon realized that for her to be independent, she
Knobloch says. "But at least one day a year, we get him unneeded something more," he says. "Debbie and I were
watching a television show about service animals and through dressed [take off his vest] and let all the kids from school play
with him, pet him and love on him. It's great for everyone."
Google read a story about a teenage girl in Chicago with a
For more information about NEHI and the work to find a
service dog who carried her oxygen for her. I became a man
cure,
visit child-foundation.org/donate.
on a mission."
18

More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

GEORGIA MAGAZINE


http://giving.choa.org/caninesforkids http://www.georgiamagazine.org http://www.child-foundation.org/donate http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - December 2017

Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 3
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 5
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 6
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 7
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 8
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 9
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 10
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 11
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 12
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 13
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 14
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 15
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 16
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 17
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 18B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 19
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 20
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 21
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 22
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 23
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 24
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 25
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 26
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 27
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 28
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 29
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 30
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 31
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 32
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 33
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 34
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 35
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 36B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 37
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 38
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 39
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40A
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40B
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40C
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40D
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40E
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40F
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40G
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 40H
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 41
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 42
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - 43
Georgia Magazine - December 2017 - Cover4
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