LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- He’s loyal, lovable, and gallops like a small horse. Guinness The Great Dane has many qualities. But to Bunny Young, her dog is a blessing.
“It is something that goes beyond words how well he knows me," Young said. “I can’t imagine my life without him."
The four-year-old is the Louisa woman’s shadow for good reason.
Bunny lives with two heart conditions that can either speed up or slow down her heartbeat to dangerous levels.
“If I’m lucky I will just pass out but there might be a day where I’m not lucky and go in complete cardiac arrest," she said.
Like an expensive piece of medical equipment, Guinness alerts Bunny or someone else if she’s in trouble.
The married mother of two puts her life in his paws.
“I’m differently-abled. I am not disabled. I can do anything other people do but it just takes me six legs to do it," Young said.
The founder of Pawssible promotes the benefits of a service animal.
Her non-profit educates businesses and organizations about laws and helps partner people with a service animal. Guinness is Pawsible’s highly visible ambassador.
“I’m so emotional because there is no amount of gratitude I can express to this animal. For what he has been able to give me in my life," she said.
Steve Young must compete with Guinness for his wife’s attention.
“He is much more than a dog. He is a family member," Steve said. "Any display of affection to Bunny he starts growling."
While it may be a losing battle sometimes, Steve is grateful for Guinness’ devotion.
“Yes. I love him. He is a great dog. He means a lot to me and a lot to the family," Steve said.
“My heart episodes have dramatically dropped off since I’ve gotten a service animal. It’s been amazing," Bunny added.
For Bunny Young, Guinness the Great Dane is the strong, silent type standing by her side every step of the way.
“He is changing the bias around service animals and disabilities," Bunny said. "I think he believes in his heart that this is what he was born to do and he has finally found his human and finally found his purpose.”
Service Animal Awareness begins on August 2. Pawssible is holding a fundraiser at River City Roll.
Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find unique, award-winning stories every day on CBS 6 News: