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Mum sees autistic son with new service dog and is overwhelmed with emotion (video)

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Published on the

Dogs are truly magical creatures. Their presence alone can turn a frown upside down – even for people who struggle with social interaction. 

A few years ago, the Neihaus family discovered that their four-year-old son, Kai, had autism.

While they were 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 contacted a charity that 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 everyday 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 stroked him. Later on, he lay down on top of Tornado as he took a nap, trying to listen to his heartbeat. 

Kai’s mother instantly broke down in tears. It was the first time she had seen her son seeking physical touch of his own accord.

Since that moment, Tornado and Kai have been inseparable. Tornado has turned Kai’s life upside down…and is a perfect example of why we call dogs man’s best friend. 

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