Shanna remembers the day her son’s life changed dramatically. Stricken with severe autism from an early age, her son Kainoa Niehau had never been able to get close to anyone, not allowing anyone to touch or hug him.
That is, until he met his new dog Tornado, a service animal set up by 4 Paws for Ability based out of Ohio.
After flying from Japan to pick up the dog, Shanna realized just how much of a blessing Tornado was.
“See this moment? I’ve never experienced a moment like this. I thought about not sharing it for embarrassment of my ugly cry face, but i decided it’s too important not to share.” This may sound like the voice of an over-proud mother, but for someone who has watched her son struggle with failed social interactions for years, Shanna can barely contain her excitement. She shows a picture of her son resting on Tornado’s lap, playing with his iPad seemingly without a care in the world.
“It’s new, it’s painful, it’s wonderful, and it’s grateful. I will always stand behind this boy (probably still crying) but I am grateful that he will have Tornado to stand beside him. The 4 Paws magic is real. The wait is long, but this moment right here makes it worth every moment of waiting. It’s worth every fight for services for my son, every diagnosis, every new provider, every dollar spent, every paper filled out, every school meeting, every shed tear, every step forward, every step back, and every wonder of the unknown future. Somehow because of this- because of Tornado- I know everything will be okay.”