A Dog, A Boy, & Our Vision

Hi Animal Lovers!

Izzi and I are booking some great service sites and getting some great information about the complex issues surrounding animal rights. We keep getting more and more excited about this year’s FYSOP! We want to share with you all the direction that this year’s animal issue area will be going. The best way to introduce our vision for FYSOP 24 is to introduce you to Xena and Jonny.

Xena and Johnny

Last September, a 4 month old Staffordshire terrier/pit bull mix was found collapsed on the side of a road. She had been confined to a cage for most of her short life and was severely malnourished. Animal Service workers did not expect her to live through the night–however she didn’t just survive, she thrived. Shelter workers named her “Xena the Warrior Puppy” because of her fighting spirit and she finally was strong enough to find a forever home.

She eventually found that home with the Hickey family, who adopted her in March. That was when Xena met Jonny.

Jonny, the Hickey’s son, is autistic. Prior to meeting Xena, he rarely spoke, had trouble forming relationships, and had personal space issues. However, since Xena has become a part of his family, Jonny hasn’t stopped talking–and the two have become inseparable. Jonny even sang about their friendship:

“I have spent thousands of dollars on therapy,” said his mom, “and I believe on February 11th when Jonny met Xena in our family room, that the best therapy in the world was standing in my home.”

Jonny’s confidence has grown so much that he even made a video promoting autism awareness and animal rights activism.

“My name is Jonny and this is my puppy, Xena. Well, my Xena was hurt really bad. By some not-so-nice people. And I have autism. So I think we make a pretty perfect team to spread the word to be nice to animals, and nice to kids like me.”

You may be wondering… how does this relate to FYSOP 24? Well if you want to understand our vision, the direction that the animal issue area will be heading this year, and how Jonny and Xena’s story relates, visit our Vision Page.


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