MT. ORAB, Ohio - Imagine if you had no fear—touching a hot stove because you didn't understand you'd get burned. But what if a puppy could keep you safe?
A boy and his dog—there's no better bond maybe. Samuel DeWitt is about to find out how valuable that kind of relationship can be.
Meet Samuel. He loves swinging in the backyard, playing in the sandbox… and he really loves popsicles. His parents say he loves to read and is looking forward to meeting his new puppy--a puppy that could help him.
"He just does a lot of the same kind of things that everybody else does at his age, but Samuel has autism," said David DeWitt, Samuel's dad.
But his mom, Elizabeth DeWitt, said autism doesn't stop him.
"He has a gift for not giving up. Things can be kind of challenging to him and he kind of inspires the rest of us. He doesn't let anything stop him."
Before his diagnosis, Samuel lost the ability to say ‘momma'.
"It was difficult to have my son say things like ‘momma, dadda' and then, you know, to lose those. And so, he actually he was saying ‘mommy' and when lost it, I kind of waited another two years to hear that," said Elizabeth.
Finding out that their son had autism last spring planted a mix of emotions for both parents.
"In some ways it was a relief that we're finding out and in other ways it was gut wrenching, just because you know every day he's going to struggle with something probably for the rest of his life," said David.
That struggle can be lessened with the help of the organization: Animals for Autism. That's where Samuel's puppy, Shadow is coming from. Their hope is that the Siberian husky will keep him safe even when they can't be with him.
"Samuel doesn't understand some of the dangers. He has no fear of like bodies of water or cars or even strangers. Samuel doesn't think anything about walking up to a stranger. And so, the dog will help, number one, to keep Samuel from wandering away from us; will help keep Samuel with us; will alert us," said Elizabeth.
Now, the family needs to raise $5,000, so that Shadow can come home with them after he's trained in Illinois.
They have created a Facebook page ‘Autism's Ruff' where they are accepting donations, planning fundraisers, and it's where friends can follow Samuel and Shadow's journey together.
Samuel, for one, is not giving up his mom said.
"He has a determination that where most people would might give up on things when it gets too tough, Samuel, a lot of things are tough for him, so he doesn't have that option so he continues to go and fight and push on."
The family's first fundraiser will be at Butterbees in Mt. Orab on June 14.