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Boy’s Miraculous Recovery After Meeting His New Best Friend

Jonny Hickey is a young boy who was diagnosed with autism. For much of his life, Jonny remained in solitude without any real friends. Then, one day, everything changed when Jonny was introduced to a new friend.


20. Georgia

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Linda Hickey and her husband live with their two children in the state of Georgia. Linda’s youngest son is 8-year-old Jonny, who was diagnosed with autism. At first, it was difficult for her to accept the situation.

19. Difficulties

Image: Honest To Paws

Linda admits that it was difficult for her to accept her son’s disability and figure out ways to cope with how Jonny would react to certain situations. In school, Jonny was quite reserved and was having a difficult time making friends.

18. Uncomfortable

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Jonny also had a hard time being in public places. He was uncomfortable being out in public and never wanted to leave the side of his mom or dad. It was hard on everyone.

17. Simple Tasks

Image: Today

I couldn’t even order cold cuts at the deli counter,” Jonny’s father, Grant, explained to Today, “because I’d roll up in front of the deli counter, I’d say ‘Give me a half a pound of this, a half a pound of that,’ and Johnny would just start screaming.”

16. Fearful

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Grant began to worry that Jonny wouldn’t be able to get over his anxieties. The couple adopted two dogs so that Jonny would have an animal to bond with. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t an instant connection between them.

15. Parallel World

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Jonny would not interact with those dogs at all,” Grant recalled. “It was as if they were in parallel worlds.” Jonny’s parents were beginning to feel so hopeless about the situation until something unexpected happened…

14. Abandoned Dog


One night, Linda had turned on the television and saw a news segment that absolutely broke her heart. There on the TV was a rescue dog that had been found in critical condition. The dog very much needed someone to love her.

13. Xena


The dog was a sweet girl named Xena who had been terribly abused. Even though she was only a tiny puppy, she had already been through so much in her life. When Dekalb County Animal Services first rescued her, they didn’t know if she’d make it.

12. Bad Shape

Image: Today

I’ve been doing rescue probably for about 12 years, and I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” said Chrissy Kaczynski, who worked with the rescue shelter. Xena’s condition was heartbreaking however, this little dog knew she wanted to keep on living.

11. Immediate Connection

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Linda immediately felt a connection with Xena, even through a screen. Linda would check the shelter’s Facebook page each day to see how Xena was doing. Then one day, she knew she couldn’t procrastinate any longer and headed over to the shelter to meet Xena.

10. Trial Period

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Linda got in contact with Chrissy who arranged for Xena to stay at the Hickey’s house for a trial period. This would allow them all to see how and if Xena would fit into the family. When she finally arrived, no one expected what happened next.

9. Surprise

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So with Xena in the car, Linda headed over to her son’s school to surprise them with the dog. No one knew what to expect, however, as soon as Jonny got in the care his personality changed. He had an immediate connection with Xena.

8. Happy

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Xena and Jonny immediately clicked as she began licking him and giving him tons of love! Jonny adored her and the two have been inseparable ever since. However, that’s not the only amazing part with this friendship!

7. Personality Change

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The Hickey’s have noticed an amazing improvement in Jonny’s personality ever since Xena came into the picture. Jonny has been much happier and has had less problems interacting with new people. The Hickey’s are so grateful.

6. Smiling

Image: Today

She was in his lap and she was kissing him all over his face and he was smiles from ear-to-ear,” Linda said. “We drove home [with] her in his lap the whole way.” Grant especially felt emotional about the change in his son.

5. Grateful

Image: Honest To Paws

I can just cry thinking about it,” Jonny’s dad, Grant, said. “The dog had such an impact on our son that tens of thousands of dollars didn’t have.” Jonny has even begun to pick up new hobbies.

4. New Hobbies

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Jonny has begun to undertake tons of new hobbies ever since Xena has been around. One of his new favorite things to do is cook. Even Jonny’s teachers have noticed a huge improvement ever since Xena instilled so much confidence in him.

3. Better In School


Jonny’s teachers are so thrilled with his classroom improvements. He recently won the Super Star of the Week award in his classroom, something that may have never been possible before Xena.

2. Best Therapy


You know, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on therapy,” Linda admitted, “and I just said to myself that that is the best therapy, standing with four legs in my family room.”

1. Miracles

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Xena and Jonny both brought something to each other that the other was missing. They have both bought a ton of love and understanding to each other’s lives.