Dogs have this incredible ability to change our lives dramatically, and no one knows it better than this five-year-old boy. Diagnosed with autism and a rare brain condition, Leon Kirby-Bulner never spoke a word, and things were not looking to promising. But his whole life have changed after he met a very special dog.
Since a very young age, Leon or Mancub as he prefers to be called, was extremely shy and he was struggling to interact with people, including his own family. But that massive lack of confidence disappeared once he met his furry friend, an adorable Cocker Spaniel, named Fern.
“At that time Mancub was stuck deep in the depths of autism – no eye contact, no words, no interaction,” Hayley, the boy’s mother explained for THE METRO. “He was sadly locked in his own little world but, on meeting Fern, it was love at first sight. They quickly became inseparable, the very best of friends. His first interactions weren’t with humans but with Fern. He had a sparkle in his eye we hadn’t seen before.”
The boy’s parents couldn’t believe their eyes when noticed how close their son and Fern are. More, the boy became more attached by his friend by the day, and every time he was spending time with the gentle dog, he was all a smile. That give his parents hope.
“This tiny little puppy made him smile and grin – all of these emotions that we’d never actually seen from him,” Leon’s mother said. “And we knew within a couple of weeks that we’d lost our falconry dog – Fern was going to be his dog.”
With the unbreakable bond the two were sharing, the family was sure Fern still has much to offer in Leon’s long road to recovery, so they have taken the Cocker Spaniel to a special training, so she could assist her mini-human friend, even more. The training period went very well, and now Fern is able to comfort and calm down Leon in a way his parents never thought it will be possible. But the most impressive progress is that the autistic boy started to communicate, for the very first time.
“Now, she helps Mancub calm down when he has a meltdown often providing deep pressure stimulation, she guards the stairs to stop him hurting himself, she gets between him and the floor when he is trying to bang his head,” Hayley explained. “She gives him comfort when needed, she just has completely transformed Mancub’s life.”
Hayley and her husband Karsten, even started a charity – TAP Assistance Dogs – to help other children with autism in the way Fern helped their son, Leon! You can also keep in touch with these two lovely friends and their inspiring story, on Facebook.