An autistic boy who cannot be touched because of his condition formed an instant connection with a service dog at their first meeting.
The boy's family flew thousands of miles to make the meeting possible, and it was all worth it as the child, who perceives any kind of physical human contact painful, has finally met a companion worth hugging in form of Tornado.
The NGO that made this possible, an organization called 4 Paws for Ability, exists with the purpose of improving the lives of children who suffer from different disabilities, training dogs in special conditions with carefully crafted programs.
It was an incredibly touching moment for the boy's family, particularly his mother, who sobbed, emphasizing the meaning of the meeting.
"This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can't hug, wash, dress, snuggle and touch freely [lie] on his new service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful, unspoken attachment," she explained in a Facebook post.
The photo instantly got more than 15,000 likes on the social network.
The experience was initially overwhelming for the child so they took a break after the first meeting so as not to rush him and make him more comfortable. When he returned, he took the iPad and sat against Tornado's furry belly.
"He flew across the entire ocean, stopped in multiple states and uprooted his entire routine to travel the globe for this. He was so overwhelmed through the day that he had to leave to take a break for a couple hours before he could come back. It's new, it's painful, it's wonderful and it's grateful. I will always stand behind this boy (probably still crying) but I am grateful that he will have Tornado to stand beside him," added the mother of the 5-year-old.
The representatives of the organization describe the high percentage of compatibility between dogs and children with disability, claiming that around 95 percent of the dogs are open to the kids. Aside from being a terrific companion for the child, the dog will also accomplish practical purposes after finishing his training. After the dramatic moment, the dog will be taught how to find and rescue the boy in case he ever gets lost.
This event is all the more powerful as many of the children suffering from autism don't have friends because they have difficulty socializing. However, it was not the case this time, since the boy immediately responded positively to the dog.