Months after being abandoned and left for dead, a dog is now making a difference in the life of a young boy with autism.
Last year, animal rescuers found a maltreated puppy on the side of a road in Georgia. They nursed her back to health and named her “Xena” the Warrior Puppy. Xena’s recovery won fans and her story helped raise thousands of dollars for the care of abused animals.
However, it’s Xena’s relationship with her new owner that’s creating the largest impact. Now healthy, Xena was adopted by Jonny Hickey, who has autism, and his family. Once shy and withdrawn, Jonny’s family says Xena has made a major difference in his life, inspiring him to make a video to promote April’s status as both Autism Awareness Month and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,” starts the 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.”
Courtesy of DisabilityScoop.com
Lee A. Wilkinson, PhD is the author of the award-winning book, A Best Practice Guide to Assessment and Intervention for Autism and Asperger Syndrome in Schools, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He is also editor of a recent volume in the APA School Psychology Book Series, Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Evidence-Based Assessment and Intervention in Schools and author of the new book, Overcoming Anxiety and Depression on the Autism Spectrum: A Self-Help Guide Using CBT.