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Miracle Puppy Has Impact On Boy With Autism


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Just months after being left for dead, a dog is making a world of difference for a young boy with autism.

Last year, animal rescuers found an abused puppy on the side of a Georgia road, having nearly starved to death. They nursed her back to health, naming her Xena the Warrior Puppy. The amazing recovery won Xena fans worldwide on Facebook and her story helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the care of abused animals.

But it may be Xena’s connection with her new owner that’s having the biggest impact. Now healthy, the dog was adopted by Jonny Hickey, who has autism, and his family. Once shy and withdrawn, Jonny’s family says Xena has brought him to life, inspiring him to make a video to promote April’s status as both Autism Awareness Month and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

“My name is Jonny,” the boy says in a video that aired on WXIA-TV, the Atlanta NBC affiliate, “and this is my puppy, Xena. Well, my Xena was hurt really bad. By some not-so-nice people. And I have autism. So I think we make a pretty perfect team to spread the word to be nice to animals, and nice to kids like me.”

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. Jackie Bruno says:

    this is not big news- pet therapy can be invaluable, however, there is no monetary value attached to it- most pet therapy is volunteer work- what i would give to be able to earn a living with pet therapy. i work with developmentally disabled people, & LOVE animals- it would be my dream to combine my passion & my career to share the love, & improve others lives, the way my life has been elevated by the love of animals.

  2. Betty Young says:

    I’ve become friends with Xena the Warrior Puppy on Facebook, and I have to say she and Jonny totally rock! Everytime I think about how these two special people got together, I have to shed a tear! Love conquors all, I say! Love Jonny and love Xena!!

  3. Missi Wallace says:

    Yeah for the Doggie Brigades who go to nursing homes and hospitals. But our miracle was a 4 ounce kitten hiding under my ferns, found on the first anniversary of Gram-mam’s death. After 2 days of expecting him to die and numerous vet bills later (plus spending a fortune on KRM and toys), we now have a true Hemmingway Tom who loves us and has taught my ASD to be playful without being mean. My ASD has learned to think of someone else instead of being trapped in his “I want” mindset, all by a small bundle of A-A-Achoo! fur and attitude.

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