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By Never Giving Up

For the next few evenings I'm going to be featuring stories of children learning to heal from, or being rescued by, animals. Some of the stories have happened here, and others I have permission from the Gentle Barn to share. These stories. These changes. These rescue animals rescuing children, are everything Safe in Austin is about.

Our first feature has to be Angel and Jackson. The relationship that inspired this entire journey and the reason we are here today.

Before Angel, Jackson was filled with fear and anxiety. His heighten senses had him constantly overwhelmed. He was afraid of being alone, didn't like change, or crowds, and had very few words.

When we got Angel we told him she had Aspergers too. That she understood how he felt, and what he needed, and that her entire job was to protect him and be there for him.

Angel was trained to "lap" when Jackson would have a breakdown. Before her, his breakdowns came from some form of over stimulation and he would hit and scratch himself until I could grab him and hold him tight while he calmed down. Angel could push him to the ground and lay on top of him without anyone else in the room and would get the same result I did. We immediately noticed that she would also "lap" before a break down would happen, preventing it completely.

About six weeks after she came home with us, Jackson got frustrated in the car after a long day of errands, and started breaking down. I couldn't reach him because I was driving, so I watched as Angel crawled from the way back of the 4-runner and wedged herself on his car seat pinning his arms down and relaxing him almost immediately.

That was the very last time she performed "lap". It's also the last time Jackson has had a self injuring breakdown. She had only been with him for six weeks, and that was 5 1/2 years ago.

Besides stopping what use to be daily breakdowns, Angel introduced Jackson to the world.
When they went places together people noticed. They stopped them and asked if they could pet her. People asked lots of questions. We always gave Jackson the option of sharing his dog and their story.

It started off slow, but eventually he started talking more and more. Soon we noticed him making eye contact with strangers. The crowds got bigger and bigger and the telling of their story got better and better! Very quickly Angel was able to help him with confidence beyond my wildest dreams. He now went into public places with ease, made eye contact with everyone, and held conversations that surprised us all.

I could write a book on these two, but the message is clear. Angel turned our world right side up, and we will be eternally grateful. She touched a place in his heart that I couldn't get to. Animals have a judgment free, natural ability to provide unconditional love and friendship to anyone that needs it.

Because of their relationship, we are determined to provide the environment where rescue animals can change the lives of the children that need them the most.

Join our mission by emailing us for more information!


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