At the age of four, Kai was evaluated and given a diagnosis of autism.
After months of sobbing himself to sleep every night because he couldn’t establish any friends or human connections, Kai eventually discovered in Tornado what he had been searching all along; a companion.
His mom, Shanna, posted photos of them while discussing her experience: “This photo shows the expression on the mother’s face as she saw her kid, whom she is unable to freely embrace, bathe, clothe, cuddle, or touch, lie on his new Service dog of his own free choosing, with an intentional, unspoken bond.
“This is the expression on the mother’s face who has seen her kid engage in a seemingly endless number of fruitless social encounters on the playground in an effort to make a friend. Any pal will do. Any kind of a link at all.
She has spent a considerable amount of time comforting her son as he wept through the night for the past several months because, despite his best efforts and the progress he has made in his autism treatments, he is unable to maintain regular relationships with people outside of the family.
For him, this does not translate into the realm of naturally happening events. And now she is sitting behind her son, observing this moment in complete silence, with the breath being drained out of her lungs, and having no words to speak.”
Shanna pondered on the fact that all of the challenges that come with being a parent have been worth it, and that there is a fresh glimmer of hope as a result of Kai’s relationship with Tornado.
Because of this—because of the tornado—I have a feeling that everything is going to turn out all right.”
Tornado is a Golden Labrador who was trained to become a service dog for Kai by a wonderful organization whose aim is to pair children who have disabilities with high-quality service dogs.