See the moment an autistic boy met his service dog for the first time

May 30, 2017 7:04 pm Last Updated: May 30, 2017 7:04 pm

4 Paws for Ability is an organization the breeds and trains dogs with the specific intention of placing the dogs with disabled children and veterans. Since it was founded in 1998, the organization has placed service dogs with hundreds of children and veterans.

One of the families 4 Paws for Ability has helped is the Niehaus family. When five-year-old Kai was diagnosed with autism when he was four, it gave his family some answers, but also left them wondering what to do next. Kai’s mother, Shanna, said she noticed that her little boy tended to gravitate towards animals, so she and her husband researched getting a service dog for their son.

The family came across 4 Paws for Ability and knew they would be the perfect match for their son

The application process was long. The family had to film Kai in social settings, write letters, and provide medical documents. They also had to fundraise to pay for the specialized training for Kai’s new service dog. Once everything was complete, 4 Paws for Ability trained a puppy specifically for Kai’s needs.

According to USA Today, Tornado, Kai’s dog, was trained for companionship, behavior disruption, and tethering, which is when the dog and child wear a harness that connects the two so the child doesn’t have the ability to wander off.

Once the long process was complete it was time for Kai to meet Tornado.

“I couldn’t believe what I had hoped would happen was actually happening,” Shanna told USA Today of her son laying down on Tornado, thus creating the bond Kai always wanted with someone, but could never create.

In a post shared by 4 Paws for Ability, Shanna explains how much this moment meant for her. “I have cried so many times for this boy, but this is the very first time I have cried for a reason like this,” she wrote.

(H/T: Sunny Skyz)