Erin Bischoff is required to use a wheelchair due to a rare genetic disorder known osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bond disease.
The high school senior has already had 10 surgeries due to complications from her disorder, which causes her bones to break very easily.
In 2014 Erin was given Gauge, a service dog to help her with everyday tasks that could put her health at risk.
Now, Erin was able to lead her school’s production of The Wizard of Oz in the starring role all thanks to Gauge.
Erin said there was a “bit of a learning curve” for Gauge to learn how to enter and exit the stage on cue, but the beloved service dog was a quick study.
Paula Jacobs, the show’s director, said she was overjoyed that Erin had the opportunity to show her connection to Gauge on stage.
“Her tenacity in the face of adversity is such an important part of who Erin is as a person,” Jacobs explained. “It’s something, in combination with her sweetness and innocence, that is extremely important for someone playing the role of Dorothy.”
Erin will be headed to college this fall with Gauge at her side to study healthcare and law. Just like Dorothy and Toto, Gauge and Erin are inseparable.