Dogs are one of the kindest, most loyal pets one could ever have. But for James Isaac of Wellington, New Zealand, having loyal service dog Mahe means more. Mahe provides a haven for James. James has autism and has trouble communicating. He doesn’t like human contact and can’t even make eye contact – not even with his own family.
According to James’s mother, Michelle Isaac, before having a service dog, it was hard for them to go out as a family as James easily got anxious in public places and would want to leave at once. Michelle also said James loves running around, but they had to hold his hand to prevent them from running down the road but he hates being manhandled and controlled because he wants his freedom.
However, everything changed for them when Mahe arrived.
Mahe is a black Labrador matched by the Assistance Dogs New Zealand to James’s family: Ever since Mahe became part of their family, he helped James become more calm – especially when they’re outside. Michelle said that they were able to go to places and James would just sit and wait patiently with Mahe.
Mahe also protects James when James wants to run around outside. Mahe and James were connected by a special harness, so James can still have his freedom while Mahe stays by his side. And whenever James tries to wander off, Mahe would sit down and won’t move.
The Assistance Dogs New Zealand has trained Mahe for six months. He was trained when was just a pup. Service dogs are trained to help people with autism, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and even diabetes. The funding development manager of the Assistance Dogs New Zealand, Wendy Isaacs, said that Mahe was specifically chosen for James because of his calm personality.
Mahe was allowed to stay at James’s school once a week. Michelle said that the school believes that the service dog has a good effect on other students on James’s special needs class.
The loyal dog was really loyal to James, but his loyalty and genuine care for James was truly witnessed when James was sent to the hospital for an MRI scan. James started to have seizures, and his doctors ordered to have an MRI scan done to rule out illnesses, and the boy had to be put under general anesthesia so he could lay still.
Before the procedure, Mahe was allowed to get on the bed to check on James. The touching moment was captured by the hospital photographer, Louise Goossens:
Michelle said that Mahe looked really concerned and kept sniffing James before the procedure. And while James was currently in the MRI room, Mahe felt Michelle’s worries and tried to comfort her as well. After the scan, James was reunited with Mahe, and despite not being able to speak, it was evident that Mahe’s presence gave James an immediate comfort.
Michelle said that their lives were drastically improved because of Mahe. James was able to join routine outings with Mahe at his side.
Their story went viral, moving the hearts of thousands of people all across the globe. Michelle said that they were blown away by how the story of James and Mahe have spread. She even made a collage and compiled some of the media articles that featured James and Mahe:
Actions really do speak louder than words. And a dog’s love is something so pure that it transcends through their actions – and sometimes, their actions are enough and far more genuine than words human speak.
Photos | Supporting James