Nine year old autistic child Johnny Hickey, who had problems in reciprocating with people around him, formed an inseparable bond with his pet dog and started doing things he wouldn't do before. The love between Johnny and his 2-year-old dog, pitbull Xena is all-encompassing.
When Johnny was born, his parents were overjoyed but soon their joy became a concern. Johnny barely interacted with anyone and spoke very few words, when diagnoised with autism.
"To get home and eight months later to have them tell you.. well, ya know something just isn't right," said Jhonny's father, Grant Hickey.
The Hickey's found a pitbull puppy that was about to die due to starvation and months of abuse. Veterinarians said there was one percent chance for her survival. "It just took my breath away," said Johnny's mother.
Johnny's mother persuaded her husband to adopt the dog on hearing its meager chances of survival.
"I said i don't know if i really want a pitbull in our house," said father, Grant Hickey. "What kind of issues is the dog gonna have?"
Surprisingly, there were no issues, but something magical did happen the moment Johnny and pitbull Xena met.
"I had never heard Johnny talk so much in this house as he did that day," his mother said. Johnny started doing things he wouldn't do before.
"I could just cry thinking about it was- the dog had such an impact on our son- that tens of thousands of dollars of therapists didn't have," said father, Grant Hickey.
Autism lasts for lifetime but behavioural and communication therapies will help the child lead a better life.