Quaden Bayles, five, was diagnosed with achondroplasia – the most common form of dwarfism – at just three days old.
Quaden stands at just two-feet-five-inches tall and his mum,Yarraka Bayles, said his height has made him "an easy target for bullies", which knocked his confidence.
Bayles, 34, from Brisbane, was determined to help her son accept who he was. She adopted a nine-year-old Shih Tzu with achondroplasia to help him realise he wasn't alone.
"Quaden just adores his new pal Buddy and they do everything together," she said. "Buddy comes up to Quaden's waist and is the perfect companion."
Bayles said it was by pure chance that Buddy met Quaden after a vet friend contacted her to say she had a dog that she was caring for.
"I couldn't believe it when she said she had a rescue dog that had achondroplasia," Bayles said. "I had no idea the condition affects animals too.
"As soon as Quaden saw Buddy, the bond was instant.
"Quaden is so proud of Buddy and the fact he has dwarfism too. We went to the park the other day and he was telling everyone they were both dwarves. It was lovely to see.
"I feel like Buddy's arrival has really helped Quaden realise that he's not alone."
With Quaden being the only person in his community living with dwarfism, Bayles said she became determined to help raise awareness of the condition.
She has now set up a support group for families with children who have dwarfism called Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism.
"Quaden has always looked different to other kids his age, which has made him an easy target for bullies," Bayles said.
"When I brought him home from the hospital, I didn't know much about his condition. But as he's grown up, I've seen first-hand how people respond to his appearance. It's heartbreaking.
"All I've ever wanted for Quaden was for him to be happy and healthy. But by putting ourselves out there, it also gave bullies an opportunity to put him down.
"I've been able to shield him from most of it, but I can't stop people gawking at him in the streets.
"I'd tell him: 'It's good to stand out in a crowd. You're really cool', but nothing I said helped boost his confidence. The jibes really got him down."
The mum said things got particularly bad when Quaden started school this year and was around young kids who regularly pointed out his physical differences.
"I know the kids are too young to realise that their words are hurtful, but it really affected Quaden," she continued.
"He started shouting: 'What are you looking at?' to people he caught glaring at him. He's very vocal about his how much he hates being made to feel different.
"One day he banned me and his elder sisters from using the word dwarf. He absolutely hated it."
Just like his owner, Buddy has health issues too and the family have to give him medication every day for arthritis – a common complaint with achondroplasia suffers – to help him with the pain.
Bayles added: "Quaden is so attentive to Buddy. He knows what it must feel like as they both suffer with the same side-effects of being born with shorter limbs.
"Buddy has been a blessing for Quaden. They really are in this journey together and I hope their story helps other people realise it's cool to be small."
For more information on Quaden's story, Bayles' support group can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/StandTall4Dwarfism.
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