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Heartwarming story


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So we have friends that have a severely autistic 4 year old boy. Yesterday morning the dad and son stopped by for a visit. I crated Annie but left Tiga out as he is fantastic with kids. The little boy loves dogs. He doesn't really talk much. I've only ever heard him say Hi once and doughnut once. I was sitting on the couch with Tiga sitting quietly beside me and I was petting him. The little boy came over and was very interested in Tiga. The little boy is not very aware of his body and normally is just like a tornado barreling through everything. He was, however, extremely gentle with Tiga and aware of him. He didn't even come close to stepping on him or anything. He was just gently petting him while I was there. After I bit I said "He's soft". The little boy repeated "soft"!!! Then I said "dog" and he repeated "dog". Then I was like I wonder if he'll say my name. The father said good luck, he's only ever said 1 persons name and he's never even said Papa or Daddy. I thought I'd try anyway and I put my hand on my chest and said "Tammy" and to all of our delight and surprise he said "Tammy"!!! We were all in tears. So then we started doing that to other words, patting our chest and saying the word. He was repeating everything we said! He said "papa, daddy, good boy, how are you, toaster" and all kinds of words! We were so blown away. He talked with us for at least an hour, copying everything we would say as long as we were patting our chests. He was focused on us, making eye contact and speaking. He also leaned into me for hugs twice and kissed me twice! It was a very special morning. I guess he will talk a little at the autism center, but only in the mornings and only when he's bribed with candy. We had no candy or bribes. All we had was Tiga. I really feel that Tiga helped to focus him and bring him out of his shell a bit. We are definitely going to spend more time with them with Tiga. I know they've been super frustrated with his progress and yesterday was a big breakthrough. They told me that after they left and went home that the little boy was saying "mama and papa" quite a bit!! I feel so lucky to have experienced this and I'm so proud of Tiga for being such a calm and gentle dog. I just had to share.

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How heartwarming. I think that little boy needs his own Tiga. Can you imagine what his Dad had to say to his Mom when they got home? I bet they'll be back soon. It never ceases to amaze me what dogs can do for handicapped people.

 

Tears for that special scene you shared!

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I still remember quite vividly a day in the park a few years ago. I was throwing the ball for my dogs with a Chuckit when a family with a child, maybe 12 years old paused to watch. The kid seemed fascinated by my dogs and the Chuckit, so I asked him if he wanted to throw the ball. He didn't answer and I could tell something was a little different about him. I showed him how to hold the handle and swing it to throw the ball as far as possible. He was delighted and played with the dogs for quite some time. He interacted quite well with me, the dogs and his family during that time.

 

As they were walking away his mother stopped to thank me for treating him with kindness. I was blown away, not because she thanked me, but by the thought of how society treats people who don't fall into their narrow definition of normal. Dogs can be a bridge that bring people together. They are better than we are at accepting our differences.

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Love it! It is amazing how good animals can be for children who have trouble connecting.

 

I had the chance to volunteer at an equitherapy program when I was in high school. One day a mom brought her 8 year old autistic son for his first session. I was tacking up the horse and trying to talk to him, told him her name was Penny. Not surprisingly, he wouldn't even look at me, just stared at the horse. His mom told me he frequently went weeks without saying a word, and had never in his life said more than a short sentence at a time. They knew he could understand a lot of what was happening around him and could somewhat communicate when he wanted, he just never did. Supposedly he was considered "mildly" autistic, but doctors couldnt explain why he wouldn't interact at all with people. The entire session he ignored everyone and just stared at the horse. After I untacked her, I showed him how to feed her a peppermint. The second her muzzle touched his hand, he said loudly and clearly "you're welcome Penny it was nice to meet you I hope I see you soon. You're a nice horse bye now" then he walked over to his mom, who was bawling by this point, and said "mom can I come see Penny again soon?"

 

I had to stop volunteering there not long after, but I have never forgotten the look on that mom's face, or on her son's face when he talked to Penny.

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Truly a wonderful story. I am sure that Tiga was the bridge for this little fellow. The family must have been so thrilled to hear him talking so much. Now that the door has been opened by Tiga, who knows how much progress he will make :)

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What never ceased to amaze me when Celt and Megan had their therapy dog certifications, was how Celt reacted to special needs people. He is not a "people dog" and barely passed his training, but he did so because of the wonderful job he did on the last night of training, the "final test" night.

 

One young man, bedridden and only able to communicate through twitching a finger in his helper's hand, was overjoyed when Celt (unbidden) climbed carefully up on his bed to lie by his side. That is not Celt. He is not a cuddler. He does not like strangers. But he felt something about this young man and wanted to get close to him, and that made the young man very happy.

 

Somehow, some of these dogs just make some sort of connection with people who need them or whom they can help - they know it and they respond - and it's a bit of a miracle.

 

Very best wishes!

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I took my Jazz to work with me from the time he was 8 weeks old. I work in a seniors complex and Jazz loved his people. One day, I brought Jazz in to visit a man who was dying. I put Jazz up on his bed. Jazz stretched himself out so his entire body touched as much of the man as he could. We had been there for a while and I needed to get back into my office. There was no way Jazz was leaving...he actually bit my arm..not enough to break the skin but enough to say...This is where I need to be. We stayed a while longer and Jazz got up to leave. The man died the next day.

Jazz never did that again. He loved his people but I never experienced that same behaviour.

 

I hope that Tiga gets to help this young man and many more......

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That is an awesome story!

 

I am always amazed at Buddy's secret gentle side. He's still somewhat reactive, and will growl/bark if people approach us too quickly, especially men. But with a toddler, he is as gentle as can be: he will take treats from their hands with his lips only, so their little fingers never even feel that he has teeth, and if they don't release the treat, he will back off and wait until they're ready. The little guy up the street will feed him all day, saying "more" as he lets go of each kibble. So sweet!

 

Mary

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Thanks all! The father actually called the mother while it was happening and was holding the phone up so she could hear him. Thank you all for your stories as well! We haven't had a chance to see them again yet but we are certainly planning on it. Both of the parents said they need a Tiga as well but they don't know if they have the time for a dog right now. I suggested an older rescue that's already trained so we'll see how it goes.

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We had a second session with Tiga and the little boy. We took Tiga to their place this time. It wasn't as successful but Tiga can be a bit ADD when outside of his own home. Next time we'll get them to come to our place again. It was also kind of later in the day. We will still try again though.

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They stopped by again today. Not quite as successful as the last time they were here but it went pretty well. He said my name 3 times and tried to say Tiga, he didn't quite get it but you could hear he was trying. I guess he's been talking a lot more since they were here that initial time. It's pretty amazing how focused he is on Tiga when he's here. I kept Annie crated again although I had her out to pee when they arrived and he thought she was hilarious. She's a bit much so I put her away as soon as we got in the apt. Kind of makes me wonder if we should have trained Tiga as a therapy dog. He really has the temperament of a model dog. Always has. He's met people that hate dogs and want to take him home. I'm sure they'll continue to stop by and I hope Tiga can continue to help him.

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