3-Year-Old With Autism Barely Spoke Until He Took Interest In A Particular Rescue Dog

Cookie had been living as an emaciated stray, wandering the woods of Minnesota before a Good Samaritan became concerned as the temperatures began to drop. That is when The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) in Sandstone, Minnesota, stepped in to help.

Just a few weeks later, Cookie was being fitted for her first pair of winter boots at TWS and one of the staff members snapped a photo to share online.

autistic boy loves rescue dog

 

“Even though we’re a sanctuary for wild cats, I can’t tell you the number of phone calls I get about all sorts of animals in need,” a sanctuary staff member wrote. “Of course, we’ll do everything we can to help any animal suffering. That’s how this sweet little girl ended up at our gate.”

autistic boy loves rescue dog

When Cookie first arrived was a mess. She should have weighed about 70 pounds but only weighed 38. She had visible mammary tumors, and was partially blind because of cataracts and tested positive for diabetes.

autistic boy loves rescue dog

“She’s the absolute sweetest dog you’d ever want to meet and LOVES being around cats, both big and little ones, here at The Wildcat Sanctuary,” Julie Hanan, advocacy coordinator for the sanctuary said.

Cookie was being fitted for her winter boots and was already doing much better. When the staff shared the photo online, and had no idea it was about to touch a family living an ocean away.

William is nearly 6 years old and lives in England with his family. He hasn’t been able to speak very much his whole life. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 3.

“William is a very happy, gentle boy,” Emmi, William’s mom said. “He says some single words, but most of these are not used in a communicative way or will just be him labeling things he sees.”

autistic boy loves rescue dog

William is very bonded with the family’s rescue cat and is also obsessed with watching nature documentaries.

“His favorite animals are all ocean creatures and big cats, specifically tigers, cheetah, and jaguars,” Emmi said. Accordingly, William loves following TWS on Facebook, so when the sanctuary’s new resident, Cookie, popped up, getting little booties on her paws, William had quite a reaction.

autistic boy loves rescue dog

When William saw Cookie’s photo, he actually strung together words into a full phrase. “Not only did he actually speak and say … ‘Cookie wearing shoes, funny,’ but he gave me his opinion of the photo too!” Emmi said. “It was so magical.”

The best part is that William did not stop there. “This hasn’t been a one-off! In the days since this breakthrough, he’s been coming up to me and saying ‘Cookie-dog’ to ask to see her latest updates!” Emmi said.

autistic boy loves rescue dog

autistic boy loves rescue dog

William isn’t the only one making strides, Cookie, is now safe and warm at her new forever home, and has been gaining weight. Her tumors are benign and she will be getting surgery for her cataracts in January so that she’ll be able to see again.

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