Blog  >  Johnny + Lexi: Rescue Dog Turned Caretaker for Boy With Special Needs

Johnny + Lexi: Rescue Dog Turned Caretaker for Boy With Special Needs

Johnny, was born with severe Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. He cannot breathe on his own, cannot eat by mouth, has no control over his extremities and up until a few months ago he could only communicate with facial expressions. He must be flat on his back most of the time, which limits the life experiences that typical developing children have.

His parents thought he might want a pet so they sought a companion for Johnny among rescue dogs. They adopted Lexi, a Golden Retriever adopted from Golden Beginnings, who was nurtured back to health after being found severely underweight and neglected.

Upon arriving to her new home, Lexi charged into the house smelling new smells and checking things out. When she found Johnny in his bed, she went from hyper to caretaker.  She gingerly stepped onto his bed and lay down beside him and instinctively put her head on his shoulder.

At first, Lexi took naps and watched TV with Johnny every day, making his face light up, which was something his parents had rarely seen. During the school year, when the teacher comes to visit, Lexi always sits with Johnny, paying attention for the two-hour session.

Johnny must endure painful therapy sessions daily, and the only way he makes it through without crying is by petting Lexi, his constant companion. Resting his hand on her fur, he relaxes, making stretching less painful.

Lexi enhanced Johnny’s life by giving him the gift of a special friendship, for they share an unconditional love and understanding for each other that does not need words. Lexi can always lift up Johnny’s spirits and she instinctively knew he needed a best friend.

Johnny + Lexi's adoption story was one of the 2016 winners of the annual Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign, resulting in Golden Beginnings  receiving a $25,000 grant. 

This year, the Holiday Wishes campaign will award another $750,000 to animal welfare organizations dedicated to bringing together people and pets. To submit your story or donate, please visit: The deadline to apply is September 30. 


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