Even when he was very little, the Hickey family noticed that something was wrong with their son Jonny. But the diagnosis was found quickly: the little Jonny was suffering from autism, a development disorder anchored deep in the brain that is normally accompanied by difficulties in social situations.
Jonny lived in his own world. No one was able to get to him, not even his own parents.
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They truly left no stone unturned. Even several attempts at therapy with dogs were futile. Jonny rejected them all.
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At about the same time, this poor creature was brought to the animal rescue station. They found him in a pit on the street, shortly before collapse. It was a female dog.
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The vets discovered that it was a Stafford pit bull mix that was only about 4 months old. The shocking undernourishment and countless wounds told a story of captivity and serious abuse.
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The fragile puppy recovered under the tender care of the veterinarians. The recovery was astounding: her will to live flabbergasted everyone. This is how she found her name: Xena, the warrior!
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Xena’s condition stabilized quickly and she was on the way to living a normal life. All that she now needed was a loving family who would love her despite her dark history.
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The people at the animal shelter even started a social media campaign on Facebook to tell the story of Xena, in order to find her a new home.
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Slowly, Xena shed her fear of humans and became “Everybody’s darling.” During an open house at the shelter, she met the Hickey Family.
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And to everyone’s surprise, Xena and Jonny hit it off from the beginning. They even spent the whole day together.
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The earlier fear of contact was forgotten almost immediately. He even let Xena lick his face, which would have been unimaginable before.
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The family naturally adopted Xena on the spot. She and the once-shy Jonny built an unbreakable bond.
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His parents were so overjoyed that the mother said: “Jonny had a limited vocabulary. But since Xena’s arrival his readiness to talk has almost exploded. Jonny is like a new person!”
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In the meantime Jonny has opened internally and is ready to even help an awareness campaign for changing perceptions of autism. He had a blast!
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But the most beautiful moment of all is when Jonny, Xena, and the other two family dogs cuddle together at night and then peacefully fall to sleep. “Then you really know that you’ve done everything right!” says Jonny’s father proud. How right he is!
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These pictures hit so deep. Xena’s dire condition at the beginning is burned into my eyes. But, it does so good to see how the two have pepped each other up and given each other strength. Share this wonderful synergy effect of the love between a boy and his dog!

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