This is an amazing story of love between a young autistic boy and his dog. But there’s a story within a story here.

Before these two met, Xena the puppy was as close to death as an animal could get – a victim of neglect and starvation, believed to have been locked away in a cage with no sustenance or love.

Xena after being neglected and abused

At only four months old, the puppy was found laying at the road’s edge, seemingly lifeless. She was immediately taken to animal services and one worker stated that it was the worst condition she had seen in all twelve years of working with animals.

A very sick Xena

Doubtful that the animal would even make it through the night, the pup was given emergency care and amazingly, she started responding.

That happy ending would be enough but there’s more good news.

After a new Facebook page was created for Xena, the story becoming wildly popular and the now healthy Xena found a new home and playmate – an autistic boy named Johnny.

Xena and Jonny

There was an instant connection and the gift of love was soon returned. Jonny started showing signs of social behavior never exhibited before as he showed a profound love for his new dog.

Xena being happy now

They’re now best of friends and Xena and Jonny are both enjoying life like never before. Xena has since been crowned ASPCA Dog of the Year 2013.

Jonny kissing Xena

As happy as Jonny feels for his new dog Xena, you can bet that Xena is thankful for the love she feels every day – a love she never received in those first few months of life. These two saved each other and that’s how you make a friend for life.

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