A mum was moved to tears when she witnessed the moment her son, who struggled to make friends, found true acceptance.
Shanna Niehaus’ five-year-old son has autism and they travelled across “the globe” to find him a service dog. She shared a photo of their first encounter on the Facebook page of the non-profit 4 Paws for Ability, which pairs special needs children with service animals.
“See this moment? I’ve never experienced a moment like this,” she wrote on 18 October.
“This is the face of a mum who has seen her son experience countless failed social interactions on the playground in an attempt to have a friend. Any friend. Any kind of connection.”
Niehaus said her son is the strongest child she has ever met, as he’s had to deal with “countless” adults and children who do not understand him and who have hurt him.
“This picture captures the face of a mother who saw her child, who she can’t hug, wash, dress, snuggle and touch freely lay on his new Service dog of his own free will, with a purposeful unspoken attachment,” she wrote.
“She has sat with her son while he has cried at night for months because he has no consistent connections outside of the family no matter how hard he tries and no matter what he works hard on in his Autism therapies. It doesn’t transfer to the natural occurring world for 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.
“I have cried so many times for this boy, but this is the very first time I have cried for a reason like this.”
The post moved many people, racking up 12,000 likes within two days of being posted
“This is one of the most inspirational things I have seen in a long time,” commented one mother.
“I have an autistic son and while my situation is not as severe as a lot we still have our struggles. This is a moment that will always be cherished. Thank you for sharing.”
Another commenter added: “These dogs are amazing and they are not appreciated by people that do not understand how important they are. God bless them.”