Special needs girl gets a companion

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A young girl with special needs now has a new companion thanks to some local companies. As part of the work from Milkbone's "I Give" initiative and the kindness of Sam's Club, the gift was made possible.

"Happy, because I've been waiting so long," said Shawna Jones. She has suffered from quadriplegia and spina bifida since birth and has been on a waiting list for an aid dog for years.

Steve Woods with Milkbone told News Leader Nine, "We have come out today because Shawna's on the list for almost three years waiting, so today we celebrate that its come to fruition that she gets her dog and she can have a lifetime partner to help her around the house."

"She needs a little extra help there with picking things up. It'll help me too. It'll mean a lot really," Shawna's grandmother, Jean Jones said.

Shawna added, "Pick up things, open doors, get momma if I need her."

Sam's Club, Milkbone and Canine Assistants made the $20,000 service dog possible.

Sam's Club Manager Edward Hayes says, "Normally you hear about it in other cities but we had the chance to bring it here to this area, I'm excited about it. It's a win-win."

Shawna will attend camp to learn how to train her dog before it comes home with her.

Jones explained, "We get to pick a date, they have a list of when the camps are and we'll go from there."

"I'm going to work with the dog to see which one suits better with me," Shawna told News Leader Nine. Woods said everyone involved was glad to make this wish come true for the deserving young girl, "To me this really puts into perspective what I do. At the end of the day what I do is nowhere near as important as what this event symbolizes and that's helping make a difference in somebody else's life."

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.