Being given a puppy is always a memorable experience. The best surprise I’ve ever had was coming home to see my tiny ball of fluff scrambling around hunting for socks.
The introduction of a canine best friend into the life of a person with learning impairments can improve their life in a variety of ways that many of us cannot begin to comprehend.
Hugh from Birmingham, who is only eight years old, has already faced more challenges than many people.
Hugh was born with FOXG1 syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects numerous phases of development and produces structural brain abnormalities.
The neuro-developmental condition is incurable, but it can be controlled, according to the International FOXG1 Foundation:
Seizures, inability to control body movements and a lack of speech are all symptoms of this severe illness.
While the range of abilities varies based on the specific genetic mutation, many of our children are unable to walk or communicate their most basic daily requirements.
Excessive weeping, poor eye contact, and feeding difficulties are common symptoms, however, they vary from person to person.
Hugh made a fantastic new companion when his mother purchased him a 12-week-old Springer Spaniel named Barney a month ago.
The two had a strong connection right away. Hugh’s mother shared footage of the toddler and puppy cuddling up to each other in a chair, completely comfortable with each other’s company.
Hugh can be seen stroking his new puppy, who nuzzles against his arm with affection. They high five at one point, and Hugh takes Barney’s paw in his palm.
Meanwhile, Barney sits comfortably on Hugh’s lap, clearly pleased with his new human. The gorgeous video was taken the day before yesterday.
Hugh’s mother has also shared photos of her son smiling happily as he plays with his puppy, explaining why she decided to introduce Barney into their lives:
We debated getting a dog for a long time. On the one hand, we hoped it would be beneficial to Hugh, that they could form a particular bond, but we were concerned that our hectic lifestyle (many hospital visits) would be unfair to a dog.
We considered rehoming or adopting a dog, but we weren’t sure if an older dog would be able to cope with Hugh’s tubes, machines, beeping, and erratic movements. But getting a puppy isn’t easy, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if we’d made the correct choice. Even though we deliberated for a long time.
She went on:
Then this happened tonight. And I’m confident that this is the best decision for our family. Hugh petted him and reached out to take Barney’s paw in his hand.
What’s more amazing is that this same 13-week-old puppy spent most of the day running around frantically, pounced on and chewed the ears of several youngsters throughout the day, tangled himself up in the nets of a football goal, and has pretty much lived up to his spaniel name of ‘Springer.’
Maybe I got him at the right moment, or maybe he’s figuring out that Hugh needs something else. Who can say? In any case, it was a breathtakingly lovely moment.