Hankies at the ready - how this dog taught a boy with dwarfism to celebrate his uniqueness
A 5-year-old boy with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, gained more than just friendship when his mother brought him home a dog.
Quaden Bayles from Australia was struggling with his condition and being bullied in school when his mother brought home Buddy, a 9-year-old shih tzu who also has dwarfism.
"It [the dwarfism] made him feel a lot more inferior to others. He was really uncomfortable, and struggling to come to terms with the fact that he's not going to grow big and strong, just like daddy,” his mother Yarraka told Mashable Australia.
Yarraka’s friend, who is a vet, told her about Buddy and how he could help Quaden, and while Yarraka took some convincing, she was right.
"She said: 'I'd like you to meet someone', and Buddy came running towards us and took straight to us," Yarraka said. "I thought, no, my god, we're not ready for a dog yet. My dad died five weeks ago of cancer and I didn't think I'd be able to handle the responsibility at the moment."
But when she saw Quaden and Buddy together, she knew it was the right thing to do: “I just saw them bond straight away.”
Since Buddy came into his life, Quaden has been feeling much more positive and has learned to accept himself for who he is and be proud to be different.
"It was divine intervention, because it's been the best thing for Quaden," she said. "Before Buddy, we could not mention the word dwarfism or achondroplasia.”
Now Quaden is proud of the bond he and his pal share:
"He said he wants people to meet Buddy because 'he has dwarfism like me.' That's like music to my ears, I prayed for the day he would accept it. I honestly didn't think it would be anytime soon, I thought it would be years," Yarraka said.
The pair has even helped create awareness of the condition through Yakkara’s dwarfism support group on Facebok, Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism.