Health

'I Never Heard Johnny Talk So Much': Pit Bull Pup Helps Boy With Autism

| by Jonathan Constante
Johnny Hickey And Xena.Johnny Hickey And Xena.

A 9-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism has found his best friend: a 2-year-old pit bull named Xena.

When Johnny Hickey was born, his parents were overwhelmed with joy.

But Johnny would barely speak and had difficulty interacting with people. He was diagnosed with autism. It wasn’t until the boy met a pit bull puppy that he felt comfortable breaking out of his shell.

“I never heard Johnny talk so much in this house as he did that day,” Linda Hickey, Johnny’s mother, told ABC 7.

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Xena was found not too far from where the family lives. The puppy was found starving and near death from months of abuse.

Linda told her husband she wanted to adopt the pit bull, which veterinarians said had a 1 percent chance of surviving.

“I said I don’t know if I really want a pit bull in our house,” said Grant Hickey, the boy's father. “What kind of issues is the dog gonna have?”

There were no issues. Instead, Johnny started doing things he’d never done before with his new best friend, Xena.

“I could just cry thinking about it,” Grant said. “The dog had such an impact on our son that tens of thousands of dollars of therapist didn’t have.”

Source: ABC 7

Photo Credit: Screenshot from ABC 7