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This Is the Face of a Mom Watching Her Autistic Son Meet His New Service Dog

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Mother crying and holding a hand to her mouth as her son lies against his new service dog

See this moment? I’ve never experienced a moment like this.

I thought about not sharing it out of embarrassment over my ugly-cry face, but I decided it’s too important not to share.

This picture was taken near the end of the day after my autistic 5-year-old was finally able to sit down with his new service dog, Tornado. He flew across the entire ocean, stopped in multiple states, and uprooted his entire routine to travel the globe for this. He was so overwhelmed through the day that he had to leave to take a break for a couple hours before he could come back.

This boy is the strongest child I have ever met. He has faced countless rude and ignorant adults and children who do not understand him, who have hurt him, and who have not valued him because he is different. This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child lie on his new service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful unspoken attachment. This is the face of a mom who has seen her son have trouble making friends and connections. She has seen the hurt that this has caused him. And now she is sitting behind her son, silently watching this moment, with the air sucked from her lungs, and no words to say.

She is holding her mouth and silently crying because she doesn’t want to distract him from the moment. This is truly magic. Words cannot explain it.

This is the very first time I have cried for a reason like this. It’s new, it’s painful, it’s wonderful, and I am grateful. I will always stand behind this boy, but I am grateful he will have Tornado to stand beside him, too. The 4 Paws For Ability magic is real. The wait was long, but this moment makes it worth every moment of waiting. It’s worth every fight for services for my son, every diagnosis, every new provider, every dollar spent, every paper filled out, every school meeting, every tear shed, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. With Tornado, I know everything will be OK.

After the initial outpouring of love from the viral story above, we have been getting another question from those touched by our story: What can we do to help you? To help Kai? This is an assistance fund page set up for autism-related therapies and expenses directly for Kai’s needs.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Paws 4 Ability Facebook page.

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Originally published: October 28, 2016
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