Jonny Hickey, who was only 8-years-old at the time, was going through a pretty tough time. As a young child on the spectrum, there were certain things that didn’t come so easily to him.
While he was very sweet, he didn’t really talk much. He had a hard time connecting with anyone who wasn’t very close family which, as you could imagine, can make life feel a little more difficult.
Would he be lonely forever? Will he eventually be able to find someone to bond with? These are all questions his parents asked themselves, as it was getting to a point where Jonny wouldn’t talk for ages at a time.
At the time, his family had two dogs and he even had trouble bonding with them. Naturally, Jonny’s mother and father worried about what the rest of his life would look like.
While this was all going down, a rescue puppy by the name of Xena was elsewhere nearby, struggling to even stay alive.
It seems like, at that same time, Xena was also in need of a friend. She was severely starved and neglected to the point where it was looking like she might not make it. Luckily, she was taken in by rescuers at Dekalb County Animal Services.
One night around that same time, Xena made an appearance on the news (15 minutes of fame!) and won the hearts of many — one of those people being Jonny’s mother.
The wheels in Jonny’s mother’s head started to turn.
“I’ve been doing rescue probably for about 12 years, and I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” Chrissy Kaczynski, a member on Xena’s Animal Services team, said.
The mother headed to Xena’s Facebook page to check in on how the pup was doing… And then she started checking in on her via the internet every day. It started to become a routine for her, she was so invested in her story.
After some waiting and looking into Linda and her family, the time came when the shelter finally decided that they were a good fit for Xena. All they had to do was sign some paperwork and then they could welcome their new family member home.
Linda was obviously excited to finally meet Xena for the very first time in person — and to have Jonny meet her — but when the moment finally came, it was nothing like she could have imagined.
When Jonny laid eyes on Xena, he basically transformed into a different person.
Suddenly, everything about Jonny changed. He had the biggest smile on his face and overall, he was so excited. The two immediately began to form a bond that would only continue to grow stronger over the course of the next few weeks.
Jonny seemed to be the happiest he’d ever been in his whole entire life. He went from barely speaking to the complete opposite. His parents were stunned and beyond happy.
“He is non-stop chatter now,” Linda said.
It’s crazy to think about how sweet Xena was heading toward her last breath of life, and how Jonny was struggling to foster any kind of emotional connection. Then one day — boom — the two help each other to find happiness so effortlessly.
We’re not sure where the two would be if they hadn’t met each other.
It’s hard to predict what will make someone happy in these certain kind of situations but we are so happy they found each other. This is a strong bond that you simply cannot break.
Discover more of Xena’s story in the video below.