For kids with autism, life can feel pretty lonely. After all, being different from your peers and feeling unsure of how to communicate with them can prove to be extremely isolating. That’s exactly how a young boy named Jonny Hickey felt. For a long time, he just felt that he couldn’t connect with anyone, even his family’s two dogs. His parents always worried about him and wished so badly that he could find someone to connect with along the way.
And at the same time Jonny was struggling, a tiny pup named Xena was on the brink of death. Neglected and nearly starved to the point of no return, Xena found her way to a shelter where she was touch and go for a few weeks. Volunteers worked tirelessly to bring her back from the brink and one night, she even appeared on the evening news. That’s when Jonny’s mom saw her and fell in love. She looked Xena up on Facebook and felt an instant connection, and after a while, shelter workers talked to her and decided that the Hickey family would be perfect for the healing pup! Mom already knew she’d love her and she couldn’t wait to introduce her to the whole family.
But one introduction stood out above all the rest. Mom and Dad weren’t sure how Jonny was going to react based on the lack of connection he felt to the other family pets. But one look at Xena changed Jonny’s whole world. The family watched in complete awe as the two of them bonded. Mom even caught Jonny interacting with Xena all on his own one day, which brought so much comfort to her heart. Finally, he felt seen and loved by someone who wasn’t a relative. Learn more about their incredible story in the video down below!