Raising a child with autism can be a challenge since it requires a lot of patience and understanding in order to learn how to better help your child. Parents of children with autism definitely face a learning curve of their own as they adjust to their child’s unique needs and way of interacting with the world. But oftentimes parents will turn to resources for help. And there is no better help than that of a dog.
Dogs are wonderful for helping those with autism cope with the challenges of life. They are patient and understanding animals who care deeply for those they love. They make the perfect companions for anyone feeling left out or misunderstood. For one young boy named Joey, he was first diagnosed as having high-functioning Asperger’s when he was around 7-years-old. His mother, Amanda, recalled the journey to his diagnosis. The mom shared how she first twigged that something was wrong when Joey was around 3-years-old, as he displayed a desire to be on his own more so than other kids his age. Joey recalled that it was a struggle for him to be social and make friends when he was growing up because of his autism. As a result, he was pretty lonely as a child. That is when the young boy asked his mother for a dog.
Amanda agreed. However, it wasn’t until the day after Thanksgiving that she came across a Facebook post from Best Friends animal shelter that she found the perfect buddy for Joey. Amanda had seen the post of the blue-nosed pit bull named Roxy. The mother and son went to the shelter to visit her. Roxy’s first encounter with Joey was as if the two were long lost friends. As Amanda remembered, Roxy walked straight past everyone else and immediately settled herself in Joey’s lap and acted as if no one else in the world mattered but him. It became pretty evident right then and there that she was supposed to join their family.
In the video, Amanda teared up as she brought to mind the moment that she got to see her son connect to someone else. As she stated, his autism has made it difficult for him to form connections and to have those kinds of special bonding moments, so it was pretty special for her to witness when they met Roxy for the first time. She also stated that prior to adopting Roxy, she had always been a little skeptical of pit bulls because of their negative media portrayals.
While Amanda and Joey might have given Roxy a second chance in life by adopting her, it was Roxy who gave them a second chance as a family. Because of Roxy’s ability to break down barriers with Joey, it actually helped to improve the mother-son relationship between Amanda and Joey. It was as if Roxy was the bridge needed for this mother and son to be able to better form a connection in spite of autism. The entire story was quite touching to say the least, and you can watch their journey as a family in the video below: