Palm City dog assists boy on Autism spectrum

Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 05, 2016

Sunday's Autism Speaks Walk is set to bring thousands to the Meyer Amphitheater - all of them fighting for one common goal - finding a cure. 

On the eve that event, one family from South Carolina traveled all the way to the Treasure Coast - hoping to make a special connection for their very special son. 

Everyone knows there's nothing like the bond between a boy and his dog.

But for 4-year-old Tyler and his new dog 'Cookie', this bond may be stronger than most.

"We just can't wait to see what the future holds, and wait to see how they just complete each other," Tyler's mother Kimberly McFadden says.

Cookie may very well be the missing piece for Tyler, who is on the Autism spectrum.

"He's all over the place when we go out," McFadden says. "He just takes off...and he's almost been hit by a car several times." 

The family, living in Charleston, heard about 'Canines for Hope' in Palm City 

"We're an organization that trains service animals for people with disabilities," says Jason Devito, owner of Canines for Hope.

Tyler's family decided to pair him with a new canine friend. 

Devito says in Tyler's case, it'll be hard not to get attached to Cookie,  because he'll literally be attached to Cookie. 

"Cookie will be trained to anchor him," Devito says. "So if he has that desire and instinct to pull or run off or dart off, he'll be toting around a 75 pound dog at his side." 

Before that connection takes place, there was another connection necessary to the success of this union - and the two passed with flying colors when they met for the first time on Saturday.

"I was really shocked to see how quickly he warmed up to Cookie," McFadden says.

"He's a little bit on the unique side, where he gravitated to the dog so quickly," Devito added.

With more training ahead for Cookie, It'll be a few more months before the two are united for good. 

Until then, it looks like this life long bond is off to a good start. 

The family is still needs about $3,700 to fully pay for Cookie and take him home. 

If you would like to help, click here