Before Joel met Caddie, this 7-year-old boy with autism was struggling. According to his mom, Janet, just going outside was a challenge for the child and holding her hand was simply impossible.
But then in walked Caddie, a lovable golden pup, and as soon as Joel met this adorable furry friend, his mom witnessed an immediate connection. "The first day we met Caddie it was just amazing. Joel agreed to go outside into the garden – something he'd refused to do for months – and played with Caddie with a ball," Janet shared on Love What Matters Facebook page. "My husband Kevin broke down in tears when he saw it; we both knew Caddie was going to transform our lives."
From there, Joel began experiencing previously unthinkable firsts. From ordering a drink himself at a cafe to opening his mouth at the dentist, this child found the courage to try new things with his best friend by his side. "I find everything hard, but Caddie keeps me calm and keeps me safe," Joel said.
His loyal dog hasn't just had a major impact on Joel but has also helped his parents to relax and feel hopeful. "It's overwhelming the difference Caddie has made; the focus has shifted away from Joel and laughter has returned to the family," she wrote. "Caddie has opened up the world to us and to Joel. He rests his head on Joel if he feels anxious, or even lies on him, which Joel finds deeply reassuring. We're all excited to see Joel's next new achievement with Caddie by his side."