(LIFE WITH PETS/DOG PICTURES) Relationships between pets and companions are some of the strongest ones we can have. In the case of Xena, a Staffordshire terrier/pit bull mix, and Jonny Hickey, the bond between pet and human also serves as an effective therapy.

Jonny, an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with autism, would seldom speak, and often isolated himself from others, until Xena came into his life. Since their newfound friendship, Jonny has completely changed his demeanor, and has become exponentially expressive.

His mother told the Today Show, “He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years.”

Xena also benefits from this relationship. Abandoned at a young age, Xena’s journey has lead her to a loving family and a new best friend. Their tale shows the power of human-animal relationships. Here’s a glimpse of their story. — Global Animal

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Take a look at this heartwarming video of Jonny singing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story to his new pal Xena and witness the magic of pet companionship below.

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