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Published June 04, 2009, 06:25 PM

Four legged helper

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A Moorhead fourth grader will be spending the summer getting to know a life changing friend in her life, a black lab. 10-year old Hannah Papenfuss has cerebral palsy, but a companion dog named Britta is not only helping Hannah with daily chores, the four legged friend is becoming a big part of Hannah’s life, the story from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A Moorhead fourth grader will be spending the summer getting to know a life changing friend in her life, a black lab. 10-year old Hannah Papenfuss has cerebral palsy, but a companion dog named Britta is not only helping Hannah with daily chores, the four legged friend is becoming a big part of Hannah’s life, the story from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand.

It doesn't take long before you realize how quickly a bond can form between a dog and a child. Hannah and her family recently came back from Ohio after an intense interview and application process, days of training Britta how to help Hannah with daily tasks.

Hannah is very open about her disability, but recently she and her family realized a companion dog might be a perfect friend to have.

“The 2nd grade is when I really started seeing I couldn't do things other kids did. So my parents wanted me to have a friend that I could have and help me out.”

Britta comes free of charge through a non profit group called Canine Companions for Independence, training and breeding costs 45-thousand dollars a dog. For the Papenfuss family, Britta has been a great addition to the home.

“She just knows your heart. She feels what you're feeling.”

“She’s very smart, very intelligent and very beautiful, too.”

Britta knows 40-commands, everything from shutting doors to picking up a dropped leash; a cuddly new friend who now has full time job with great benefits.

Because of strict training and liability issues, Britta does not go to school with Hannah. She did bring her in for show and tell however.

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