xena and jonny

Xena and Jonny – A Boy and A Dog Change Each Others Lives Forever

Jonny Hickey is a boy from Georgia who is helping to change the world.  Jonny has autism. When he was young, he was very quiet and found it hard to talk and be with other people.  He was not very happy and had a difficult time in school.

While trying to help her son in every way possible, Jonny’s mom, Linda Hickey, learned about an abandoned Pit Bull puppy named Xena. The dog was shown on the local news to be starving, badly abused and recovering at a nearby dog shelter. She was nicknamed “The Warrior Puppy” for her courage and perseverance.

Mrs. Hickey started following the dog on a local Facebook page and fell in love with her story and courage.  In fact, she decided to adopt the dog! And that changed everything!

When Mrs. Hickey introduced Xena to Jonny, they became fast friends.  Since Xena’s arrival, Jonny is now social, talkative, happy and doing well in school. Xena is now healthy and thriving.

Not only did Xena and Jonny changes each others lives, but they are now helping others.  They created a YouTube video to create awareness about Autism Awareness Month and also to prevent cruelty to animals. Check out this very inspiring story of friendship:

Here is the video that Jonny and Xena created to promote Autism Awareness Month:

Additional Resources:

Topics for Discussion:

  • What is autism? How does it impact a person and their family?
  • How is it possible that a friendship between and dog could have so much impact on a child?
  • How have animals helped you in your life?

Take Action:

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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