A few years ago, the Neihaus family discovered that their four-year old son, Kai, had autism.
Expats in Japan at the time, they decided to move back to the US to find a service dog for Kai.
Service dog for autistic child
They got in touch with a charity who trained a dog specifically for Kai’s needs. Within just a few months, Golden Retriever Tornado was ready to meet his new little owner.
Kai’s mum was very nervous about the meeting. Her son’s autism meant that he didn’t feel comfortable being touched, including by his own parents. This made simple every-day tasks such as feeding him and dressing him extremely difficult. And more than anything, it made social interactions outside of his family close to impossible. Tornado was Kai’s last hope at making a connection – but Kai’s mum feared he wouldn’t want to even touch the dog.
Magical moment service dog meets new family
But when the moment came for Kai and Tornado to meet, all of her fears dissipated in an instant. Kai ran to Tornado and instantly pet him. Later on, he lied down on top of Tornado as he took a nap, trying to listen to his heartbeat.
Kai’s mum instantly broke down in tears. It was the first time she saw her son seeking out physical touch of his own accord.
Since that moment, Tornado and Kai have been inseparable. Tornado has completely turned Kai’s life upside down…and is a perfect example of why we call dogs man’s best friend.
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