frankie and puppy at playground
Frankie was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Hyperplasia of Infancy (NEHI) at just seven months old, and he is the only child in New Zealand who has it. Kids with NEHI often have trouble breathing, and must be accompanied at all times by an oxygen tank--Frankie's parents, Nadia and Ryan Watson, hate to see Frankie's freedom limited because he is attached to a length of tubing.
Frankie is now eighteen months old, and quite the mobile child. After hearing about a girl in America who has a dog to help her cope with the same disease, Nadia set out to do the same for her son.
Enter this little nugget of a Labradoodle puppy, donated to Assistance Dogs New Zealand by Kiwi Pride Australian Labradoodles. His is temporarily named Delux, and will be specially trained to transport Frankie's oxygen tanks wherever he goes.
"The dog carrying the cylinders means our child will be able to play freely. I absolutely love him, we all do, he is just so beautiful, you can feel he is a dog with compassion," Nadia tells
Frankie's family is constantly disentangling his oxygen tubes from toys, door jambs, and the like, and they are more than excited to give their boy a chance to play like any other fun-loving toddler.
Delux (the Watson's are looking for name suggestions on Frankie's Facebook page!) is currently under the tutelage of a puppy raiser, who will work on his socialization skills and prepare him for formal training for about eighteen months.
Frankie's parents and two sisters love him dearly, and his soon-to-be constant companion is just another one to add to that list. Frankie will be about three years old when his puppy joins him again for training, and we can't wait to see how their bond forms and grows.
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Toddler With Rare Lung Condition Gets A Puppy To Help Carry His Oxygen Tanks

See the video of Frankie’s first meeting with his puppy below!

You can donate to help offset the cost of the puppy’s training (roughly $20,000) by donating here.

h/t + featured image via Christel Yardley/Fairfax NZ