UNBREAKABLE BOND: Boy with autism gets service dog - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNBREAKABLE BOND: Boy with autism gets service dog

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There's nothing quite like the bond between a boy and his dog, but in Jaxon Growden's case, this bond is much stronger. Eleven-year-old Jaxon has Autism and he and his family have working for more than a year to get him a service dog.

This month, after weeks of work, Jaxon can finally call Rex his service dog.

Jaxon's mother says Rex is her son's first real friend. He has trouble making connections and holding a conversation, but after getting Rex, she's already seen a change in her son, something that is powerful for her to watch.

Every time someone walks up to Jaxon and his service dog Rex, he greets them like this, "My name is Jaxon, this is my dog Rex, would you like to say hi? You can pet him if you'd like."

This little line works as a gateway to get the young boy to talk and open up. Jaxon was non-verbal for the first decade of his life.

"To actually have an on-going conversation with your son...it's taken 11 years but it's worth every wait of every moment," said Marcy Growden, Jaxon's mother.

Marcy says adding Rex the service dog to the family has changed her son's life, all thanks to Retrieving Freedom

"You've changed Jaxon's world," said Marcy. "There's not enough words to say thank you, there's not enough appreciation out there." 

Jaxon is thankful for his new pal and prideful of what he can do. Jaxon is able to command him to sit, lay down and give paw. 

"It's powerful to witness and it's powerful to see him excited about it," said Marcy.

Marcy says she is excited that she no longer has to worry about her son running off because he's tethered to Rex. Rex wears a special vest, while Jaxon is strapped to him by a belt.

"Lets just say we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and Christmas has come early and I am all okay with it coming all wrapped up in one, one big Rex," said Marcy. "A boy and his dog, it doesn't get any better than that."

Mostly Rex helps keep Jaxon from running off while he and his family are out, but the command he uses most is snuggle up where Rex and Jaxon just get to lay together, which teaches Jaxon compassion.

Rex has officially passed all of his tests and is now an official service dog. He will graduate from 'Retrieving Freedom' this spring.

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