Sam and rescue dog Ella share great bond

Sam Hill pictured with his sister Abi and dog Ella.    (Photo: Davy Ralston)

They say that a dog is man’s best friend, and for young Sam Hill from Newtownstewart this phrase rings especially true.

Since rescuing a friendly young pup called ‘Ella’ from the Animal Support Trust just last month, the 12-year-old has simply ‘come to life’, according to his mother, Norma.


Sam, she explained, has ‘Dystonia’ – an involuntary movement disorder which has left him confined to a wheelchair since he was little, and his speech is also limited to small words such as ‘yes’, ‘no’ and of course, ‘Ella’.

Sam also has limited use of his limbs, and to help control his involuntary movements, Sam has a DBS (deep brain stimulator) implant which is assessed every six months in St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

However, the Knockavoe School student’s love of dogs has always been very evident – despite never having one which he could truly call his own.

So for Sam’s 12th birthday – which his family celebrated on October 19 this year – the Hill family set out to find a dog which could become a faithful assistance dog to him.

That’s when they were recommended ‘Ella’ by Lynda Hill from the Animal Support Trust – a medium-sized 13-weeks-old pup who had been unwanted and abandoned.

And when Sam met the energetic Collie/ Springer-cross for the very first time, it was obvious that she was the dog of his dreams.

“You could see the delight in Sam’s face and feel the love straight away,” Norma described. “Sam is just mad about dogs.


“Since bringing Ella home, there has been so much laughter throughout the house. Ella provides Sam with so much fun.

“She has brought him to life.”


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