James is never more than a few feet from his assistance dog, Mahe. The nine-year-old and his Labrador are inseparable, and that bond is especially important in situations that he finds stressful. James has autism; he is unable to speak and won’t tolerate others touching him, so a recent trip to the hospital was not a fun idea at all.
Because of his seizures, James needed an MRI for a proper diagnosis. The compassionate folks at The Wellington Children’s Hospital could see just how intent Mahe was in protecting his human, and so he laid right in the bed with James. The boy’s mother told Stuff.co.nz:
[F]or Mahe, James is his best mate, he is all about James. […] He was just looking at James, and looking really worried.
When doctors administered the anesthetic, Mahe made sure James was doing okay by gently nudging his face. It has almost a magical quality to it, the way dogs establish a bond so deep, it surpasses even relationships with other humans.
James is unable to make eye contact with his family, but with Mahe it’s no problem. The dog is tethered to him all the time, keeping him out of danger and doing a fabulous job as the superhero he is.
This pup was trained by Assistance Dogs New Zealand specifically for children facing challenges like James, and often he is the only one who can calm the boy down. Wherever they are—out and about, or at home—Mahe is there ensuring James feels comfortable and safe.
James is doing just fine after his hospital visit, and he’s especially lucky to have such a good friend. No matter how furry.