Introducing a puppy into your family is always a special occasion. It changes the dynamics in your family and they provide endless laughter, love and sometimes a bit of stress. But bringing a dog into your family when you have a disabled child can be a little more nervewracking than for other people.
Juggling the needs of your child with a puppy that is still learning the rules and ways of the world can be a handful. So when Emma decided to bring a dog into their lives, she was a bit nervous.
Emma’s eight-year-old son, Hugh, needed a lot more care than most other children his age. Hugh was born with a rare genetic disorder called FOXG1 syndrome. The condition severely impairs a number of aspects of development and causes brain abnormalities. Sadly, the neuro-developmental disorder is incurable.
What is FOXG1 syndrome?
The International FOXG1 Foundation says that the condition can be characterized by “seizures, inability to control body movements, and lack of speech. While the spectrum of abilities is quite broad depending on the exact genetic mutation, many of our children cannot walk or talk, and they struggle to communicate their most basic daily needs.”
Despite Hugh’s condition, the family had debated getting a dog for quite a while. They hoped that a dog would provide comfort for Hugh but they also worried that their chaotic lifestyle could be hard on the pup.
We looked at rehoming/adopting a dog but couldn’t be sure that an older dog would be able to handle Hugh and all the tubes and machines and beeping and erratic movements. But a puppy isn’t easy and, I’ll be honest, I want sure if we’d made the right decision getting one. Even though we spent ages deciding.
Eventually, they decided to go for it and adopted a springer spaniel puppy named Barney.
Everything changed when Barney was introduced to the family
Springer spaniels are notorious for being extremely bouncy, energetic dogs and Barney certainly lived up to the stereotype. The 13-week-old puppy would run around wildly, jumping on people and nibbling their ears. He even managed to tangle himself up in the nets of a football goal.
But when it came to Hugh, Barney was totally different.
On this occasion, Barney sat with Hugh and calmly doted on him. Emma recorded a video of the beautiful moment and it quickly went viral on social media.
Tonight this happened. And I know that this is the right thing for our family. Hugh even stroked him and reached out to hold Barney’s paw… Maybe I caught him at a good time, or maybe he’s learning Hugh needs something different. Who knows? Either way, it was a beautiful, beautiful moment.
The sensitive pup could clearly tell that Hugh needed something a little different from him, temperament-wise. In this video that has gone viral, Barney climbed onto Hugh’s lap and gently cuddled him.
Emma claims the pair had a clear bond from the moment they met. They are perfectly content in one another’s company.
In the adorable video, Barney nuzzles up to Hugh while he strokes his beloved pet. At one point it even looks like the pair high-five. Barney obviously loves being in the company of his beloved human.
Barney is learning to be incredibly gentle and calm with Hugh. This isn’t something we taught him and both my husband and I were moved to tears just watching the beautiful and unexpected interaction between Hugh and Barney.
Watch the beautiful video below to see the adorable best friends together. Prepare for your heart to burst from all the cuteness!
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We took a year to decide to get a dog. We’ve had Barney 4 weeks. He’s a crazy, bouncy, yampy puppy that gets so excited he wees! Yet with Hugh, my wonderful, profoundly disabled, son he’s calm & understanding. Definitely the right decision. #PMLD #springerspaniel #FOXG1syndrome pic.twitter.com/is24GcOTJ5
— Little Mama Murphy (@HappyLittleHugh) July 30, 2018