Service Dog Snuggles With Autistic Boy Who Doesn’t Like Being Touched

Five-year-old Kai waited two years for Tornado, an Autism Assistance Dog trained by 4 Paws For Ability.

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Tornado takes a break while Kai leans on him. Kai’s mother is overcome with joy and happiness that Kai, who doesn’t like being touched, has freely opened up to Tornado. Via Love What Matters/Facebook
John Virata

A 5-year-old autistic boy who did not like to be touched by people, including his own mother, recently had his life changed. He got an autism service dog who, in just a few shared moments, gave the boy what no person could: the capability for him to freely hug another being.

Tornado came to Kai via 4 Paws For Ability, a non-profit organization that trains and places highly skilled autism assistance dogs with people like Kai. Kai traveled from Japan where the American boy lives with his family, and after many hours flying across the Pacific Ocean and several stops in several states, Kai and his family made it to Ohio where Tornado was waiting for him, according to the 4 Paws For Ability Facebook page.

We know the last post about Kai and Tornado made a lot of people cry, but maybe this video of their first moments together will make you smile. Or maybe you’ll still cry and that’s ok too.

We’re so happy Kai and Tornado’s story has touched so many people. But we want you to know, this is the story of a lot of people – the people that came to 4 Paws before Kai, and the people that will come after. It’s the story of staff, who have worked long hours and holidays and weekends to provide care and training for these special dogs. It’s about our volunteers and our donors, without whom none of this would have happened.

And now it’s a story about the world. A world who said there is love and hope and beauty out there and I want to be a part of it. Thank you.

Posted by 4 Paws For Ability on Thursday, October 20, 2016

When he first got a glimpse of the dog, he could not contain his joy as he ran to meet with the dog. He was super excited to see and interact with Tornado for the first time, and his mother was overcome with happiness.

“As a mother, I have seen countless challenging and painful moments my son has encountered and cried countless more. Yesterday however, I cried for a different reason. It is a feeling that is indescribable,” Shanna Niehaus wrote on the 4 Paws For Ability Facebook page.

“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 shed tear, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. Somehow because of this – because of Tornado – I know everything will be okay.”

Tornado underwent nearly two years of training to become what 4 Paws For Ability calls an Autism Assistance Dog. The dogs the organization trains can help in many instances that face children with autism, including behavior disruption, sleep issues, and the dogs can even track their child partners if they wander off and some are trained to discourage their child partner from wandering off, according to the 4 Paws For Ability website.

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