Senior Dog Helps Boy with Autism Thrive

Lyle and PeeWee are inseparable best friends.

Judy + PeeWee

Judy’s son Lyle was looking for purpose, and a dog named PeeWee was looking for a loving family. Together, they each found love, care, and companionship.

"My Lyle was looking for a purpose and PeeWee was looking for a loving home and companion. Now they have each other—finding the love and care they each needed."

Since his birth I have watched son Lyle, who was diagnosed with autism, meet the challenges and struggles of daily life with perseverance and strength. Yet, like any mother, I have shed many tears in witnessing a child growing up “different” in an often hard and unforgiving world. Lyle, now a young man, has often kept to himself, building a shell of protection to deal with a disability he lives with every day. That is until sweet little PeeWee entered our lives.

We learned about PeeWee from our friends at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary honors the memory of 6-year-old Catherine, a kind and compassionate animal lover who lost her life at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. The sanctuary not only offers wonderful programs to the community which foster compassion to all creatures, but they also have the Senior Paw Project which helps senior pets and senior pet owners in need. That’s how we found ourselves meeting this little doggie and falling madly in love with him.

PeeWee, a sweet senior dog, was in desperate need of foster care after his senior owner was put in a nursing home. He had nowhere to go and looked at the world with wet eyes that said, “I have no one.” That’s when Lyle scooped PeeWee up, giving this old dog a hug that said, “You have me.” The two have been inseparable ever since. PeeWee gets Lyle up and out of the house all through the day with walks in nature. At night, they snuggle on the couch to relax by the television, and at bedtime, their light sounds of breathing and slumber fill the house with a peace we have never known before.

As I said, I have shed many tears over the years watching my son work to thrive in this world. I’m happy to share that since PeeWee entered our lives, the tears flow from happiness and gratitude. My Lyle was looking for a purpose and PeeWee was looking for a loving home and companion. Now they have each other—finding the love and care they each needed. We are so very grateful to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary for rescuing sweet PeeWee… and for rescuing my son.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Judy won Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, Connecticut a 2021 Love Stories award.