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Jonny and Xena
An abused pup's remarkable friendship with a boy with autism.
Xena and Jonny - Who Rescued Who

April is both Autism Awareness and Prevention of Animal Cruelty month. This story of Jonny, the eight-year-boy with autism, and Xena, the horribly abused Pit Bull, present a powerful and heart-warming tale about survival and the indescribable bond we have with dogs. The pup was severely abused and starving to death when she came into the DeKalb (Georgia) Animal Services shelter, she was given only an one percent chance of survival. Jonny’s mom, Linda Hickey, had been following the pup’s story on Facebook and decided to take the chance that this pup would be the perfect match for her son. See how right she was!

Xena won the ASPCA’s Hero of the Dog Award in 2013, and is now in the running for the “emerging dog hero” award from the American Humane Association.

Linda Hickey poignantly tells their story in this video. Watch it to see why Xena deserves your vote.

For more, see this recent interview as well. 

And watch Jonny sing “You Got a Friend in Me” to his best pal, Xena.

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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com
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Submitted by Janet Harms | April 13 2014 |

for all those who asked why I share animals in need on Facebook...watch this wonderful story and never ask again...these two are a match made in heaven...very happy for this connection and the message it sends...

Submitted by diane silver | April 14 2014 |

What a WONDERFUL story!!!! Tears are still rolling down my cheeks. As a person who rescues animals, I KNOW what loving dogs pitbulls are...unless they are TAUGHT to be mean. I had the sweetest pitbull in the world for 16 1/2 years who lived with several cats and was so loving to them. She slept with them, groomed them, and just "loved on them" very day. Unfortunately, pitbulls are not adopted very often bec of people like Michael Vick! So they are euthanized most of the time. I have rescued several abused and malnourished pitbulls who are the most loving animals u can imagine. I'm SOOOOO happy these people gave Xena a chance. Tears still streaming down my cheeks....

Submitted by norskyjewel | May 25 2014 |

Beautiful story......I am not surprised at all. Animals are our gift from God....It's what we do with our gifts that make the difference. Thank you for sharing this very personal journey!

Submitted by Stephanie | May 29 2014 |

I believe pit bulls are an amazing bread of dog. Yes they do have a bad reputation but this story shows just how amazing they really can be. This is an amazing story very touching and I hope she gets the award I believe she deserves it.

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