Dog brings hope, relief to little girl with liver disease

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GREEN ACRES, Wash. – A mysterious liver disease has made life miserable for a six-year-old girl in Green Acres.

The medication Clara has been taking her entire life to ease the symptoms isn’t working was well as it used to. So now, her parents are determined to find something else to help make her feel better. 

Clara’s mom, Natalie Peterson, said her daughter has an undiagnosed liver disease. Her doctors can see something is wrong with her liver, but they don’t have an exact diagnosis. One of the symptoms is that her skin is itchy all the time. 

“She has extreme itching because the impurities that are supposed to be put out by her liver and her gall bladder go right back into her blood stream,” Peterson said. 

She has little scars on her ankles, feet, and even on her nose from scratching too much. 

“She wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. She scratches her ears, her face,” Peterson said. 

The medication she’s been on for the last few years isn’t working as well as it used to and doctors still don’t know exactly what’s wrong. 

That’s why her parents started looking into other options to help keep her calm. They did some searching online and found Dogology Northwest. It’s a local company that trains dogs with behavioral issues and trains and sells therapy/service dogs. 

They suggested a Goldendoodle named Chester come visit Clara and stay with her for a few days to see if he could help. 

Dogology Northwest Director Mary Davies said he’s gone through extensive training to help people just like Clara. 

“He was trained from eight weeks old to work with that and so his commands and everything about him is to focus on one person and to focus on their disability and help them cope with it,” Davies said. 

After a few days with Clara, her mom called him a miracle. 

“It’s night and day. She’s a completely different child,” Peterson said. “He will put his head on her chest, her arms, her legs, wherever, and she’ll calm down.”

He’s also been fun to have around the hours for Clara’s parents and two younger siblings. Doctors believe Clara’s brother, Theodore, has the same liver disease as his sister. 

But if this family wants to keep Chester, they’ll have to buy him from Dogology Northwest. He costs $15,000.

Davies said that’s not an unusually high price for dogs with his training and background, but it’s still a lot of money. 

“He is $15,000. That’s two of my cars put together,” Peterson said. 

Peterson said friends, family, and church members have already started donating to help them buy Chester. But, they’ve still got a long way to go. 

“It’s hard to ask for money to buy a dog. It seems so simplistic, but it’s really kind of a miracle because she’s been sleeping and she’s been calm,” Peterson said. 


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