Abused puppy and autistic boy recover together

15:00 AEST Fri Apr 12 2013
Philippa Lees

Xena the warrior puppy made Facebook fame with her miraculous recovery from neglect and abuse – but the family who adopted her have been even more amazed at the impact she has had on their autistic son.

The Labrador/retriever was re-homed in November last year after being found abandoned and horrifically abused in Georgia, US.

She was cold, beaten and close to death and it was a miracle she survived according 11 Alive News.

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The puppy was named Xena and her new family included a boy named Jonny Hickey, who was withdrawn and introverted as a result of his autism.

As soon as she came home Xena and Jonny became immediately inseparable and the little boy started showing signs of improvement.

Once too shy to speak, Jonny asked his mum to make this video for Autism Awareness Month and it is clear to see his confident, bubbly personality shining through.

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"My name is Jonny and this is my puppy, Xena. Well, my Xena was hurt really bad. By some not-so-nice people. And I have autism. So I think we make a pretty perfect team to spread the word to be nice to animals, and nice to kids like me," Jonny says in the video.

Visit Xena's Facebook page here

User comments
Thank you so much for sharing this story. For clarification - Xena was originally thought to be a lab, but now that she is older we know that she is a pit bull type. One of the beautiful things that Johnny's mom has mentioned is the bond between a misunderstood boy and a misunderstood dog. Pit bull types are amazing therapy animals and do not receive the recognition they deserve. Sadly, Xena is illegal in many cities thanks to breed specific legislation.
I have followed Xena on Facebook from the day she was rescued. There are no words to describe how she looked laying on the table at the vet- she literally looked dead. Within days she was eating and walking around and gaining weight (and hair!). Her foster parents did an absolutely amazing job. Then Xena met Jonny. It is so obvious that they are meant to be together. From day one, Xena has been attached to Jonny, no matter where he is (we call that "velcro-dog" at our house). I love seeing the daily pictures and videos of these two and hope the family will continue to share the progress of these two amazing beings with us.
Xena is "Pit Bull" type dog!! Where do you get your MISINFORMATION from?
Well done Jonny. You have made a beautiful difference of what life really should be lived for your beautiful dog. And my love to you too! God bless you both, Go well. love you both, You hve made my day,xxxxx Jano McGowan.xx


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