NAPLES, Fla. - A Southwest Florida family received a gift that will change their lives forever Thursday night. That gift came in the form of four legs and a wagging tail. But, it's more than just a family pet.
Fosse is a Golden Retriever. His new job is to be a best friend and helper to a little girl whose abilities to walk, talk or feed herself were taken away by a car accident. The hope is, Fosse will give Hannah Grant a much easier life.
Scott Grant remembers the sparkle in his daughter Hannah's eyes the first time she met Fosse. "She brought Fosse up and, wow," Scott Grant said. "He went right to Hannah. You could tell right away it was meant to be."
It was a few moments of joy after five and a half difficult years. In July 2007, a then-six-year-old Hannah was on her way to a birthday party when the car she was in was hit by a red light runner. The crash left her unable to walk, talk or do things a girl her age would. She depends on her family for everything. But now, thanks to PAWS Assistance Dogs, she has something that's all her own.
"She'll have a friend, she'll have someone she can snuggle with, someone that if she wants a stuffed animal can get it for her," Grant said. "Fosse will be able to open the doors if she wanted to see outside, and when we go out, it will be huge."
Fosse will also be able to retrieve Hannah's crash kit in the event she has a seizure. Hannah couldn't be there for the presentation. She's recovering from her third surgery in three weeks after a shunt in her brain failed.
"I can only imagine what my sister is going to be feeling when she comes back here," Hannah's sister Shannon said.
This Golden Retriever will become a buffer between Hannah and the rest of the world, giving her independence and constant companion.
"They love equally as strongly, but these guys love to work and it's their passion and that's why they are so successful," Jeannie Bates, Executive Director of PAWS Assistance Dogs said.
"Hannah is work work work and very little play," Scott Grants said. "This will give her a chance to play a little bit and have a companion she can love and love her back."
Female inmates at the Collier County Jail played a big role in Fosse's training, teaching him things like how to pull a rope to open doors and raise his paws to close doors. If all goes well, Hannah may be able to come home this weekend.