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(CBS) – A woman and her dog. Both of them are disabled, but they have found a way to improve the lives of others.

Twenty-seven years ago, as a teenager, Lee Krizka was stricken with an ailment that left her a paraplegic. Even so, she managed to work, having spent 13 years as an electronic evidence technician with the FBI.

Now, she and her dog, Merlot, are a team in the physical therapy section of Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. The dog is an inspiration for patients and the staff.

That’s because Merlot, a 7 ½-year-old Australian shepherd, was bitten by a tick and was left nearly blind.

“When we tell (patients) the dog is blind and the dog’s had to overcome some obstacles and they see that it’s possible,” Lee says.

A fundraiser was held recently to help defray the $5,000 in medical expenses necessary to treat Merlot. Lee doesn’t think surgery is worth the risk to try to renew the dog’s sight.

Whatever happens, Lee says she and Merlot will both be volunteering at the hospital for as long as they can.

“Everybody’s always thrilled to see me and the dog,” Lee says.