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Bozeman

Jan 31, 2014 9:24 PM by Donna Kelley - Bozeman

Autistic teen and his blind dog - a story of unconditional love

BOZEMAN - Studies show pets can have profound effects on people. Unconditional love and the buddy system works for one boy and his dog.

"The morning I found her, I found her sleeping on my bed," said Christian Everett, a teenager of few words.

Everett is autistic and determined. He hopped on his computer, called up Heart Of The Valley Animal Shelter, and found a Catahoula Greyhound mix dog.

Christian's mother Teri Everett says of the relationship between her son and the dog, "Kinda love at first sight."

First sight - except that Tallulah the dog is blind.

"I don't think she knows she's blind," Teri says.

Could the boy who doesn't talk much and the dog that cannot see have a special communication and bond?

Giving Tallulah some treats, Christian says they share food including pizza, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs.

The difference that Tallulah has made has been pretty miraculous; Teri says, "They've got such a neat connection. Christian opens up more...just more happier. We're all happy she's here with us."

Adding a pet is adding another member to the family and sometimes it can be hard to get past getting the perfect little puppy.

Development director at the animal shelter, Kathryn Hohmann, says, "We were enchanted by the family. Christian knew about the dog and had a sense...knew this was his dog."

Hohmann says there are benefits to getting an older or special-needs dog - you get to see more of what you get, including personality and the special matches.

She says, "Sometimes we see that. You don't want to get in the way of those magical connections."

The Everetts encourage adopting a special-needs pet; "Do it. They're great. Deaf, blind, missing limbs...they need love too," Teri says.

And challenges can certainly make you appreciate love all the more and realize the love doesn't have to be perfect - just given.


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