Nicole’s husband, Michael, suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder. (ASD is a neurological disorder resulting in developmental disability that affects communication, social understanding, behavior, activities and interests). After severely injuring his back while working at his uncle’s shop, Michael was left barely able to function. Even worse were his feelings of futility, depression and despair.
And then …coincidence or providence?
Living next door to the couple was a breeder with a puppy Michael desperately wanted. But when he approached the breeder, he was told that the puppy wasn’t for sale, and a dejected Michael returned home empty handed. The following day, the breeder called; he’d changed his mind. Never had Nicole seen her husband as happy as the day that small Bluetick Coonhound entered his life. And the loving bond between Michael and Luke was instantly and immutably forged.
One of Michael’s many ongoing health problems includes seizures. Seizures, which Luke instinctively and instantly picked up on. After some further instruction from Nicole, the pup learned to recognize when they were coming on and what to do. He would remain with Michael the entire time, never once leaving his side, until the seizure was over.
The same holds true whenever Michael becomes depressed or is bedridden because of his back. Luke stays close to him, comforting and calming him with his presence, and providing the stricken Michael with the solace and reassurance he needs. And yet, this very special relationship doesn’t only work one way. Whenever Luke is the one in need of calming, Michael is there for HIM. According to Nicole, “They know just what the other thinks and wants.”
The pair is inseparable, and with Nicole’s assistance, the three of them have become regular visitors at a nearby nursing home, where they spend time with the seniors on the rehabilitation floor. Their mission: “to cheer them up and make their day,” says Nicole. Michael loves showing off Luke, Luke loves the attention, and the seniors love Luke. It is a single, joyous and rewarding love fest all round.
Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the bestselling author of seven novels and one work of non-fiction. Nomi devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations both in Canada and the USA.