The boy was lifeless, then he was introduced to a dog.
Caleb was driving with his mother and siblings when a distracted driver swerved into their lane and collided with their car.
The novice driver, who was only a child himself, killed Caleb’s mother and both of his siblings, but six-year-old Caleb miraculously escaped. His injuries, however, were potentially fatal. Caleb, as the sole survivor, endured major injuries. Although his broken bones will heal, his traumatic brain injury can lead to death, paralysis, brain damage and a long list of other complications.
Caleb’s father and grandma did everything they could to help him, but each day was a gamble. Nobody knew what would happen as a result of the experimental therapies and constant testing. The doctors proposed a non-traditional approach, involving the use of a therapy dog. The medical team sought to investigate if having a dog by Caleb’s side may encourage activity and, as a result, healing through simple interaction that would hopefully lead to a link.
Caleb’s father consented, but he was suspicious. Colonel, a Golden Retriever, became Caleb’s inventive and non-invasive source of “medication.” Susan, the dog’s trainer, sat quietly by Caleb’s side. They both waited for Caleb to respond in some way, and it didn’t take long! Caleb reacted while sleeping, especially when Colonel lied on Caleb’s hospital bed, virtually squirming his way onto Caleb’s small body to keep him company. His heart rate improved, and his lung function returned to normal.
Something positive was happening, which everyone attributed to Colonel, the sole variation in Caleb’s routine. Colonel came to see Caleb every day, and the youngster lit up. The medical team was taken aback. Caleb became more attentive and eager to sit up and play with the adorable puppy. Colonel inspired Caleb in inexplicable ways, both physically and emotionally. Caleb quickly threw a ball to the colonel. And the laughter!
Of course, it takes time and patience — and the support of the entire team from doctors to family — but the colonel is the one who really connects with Caleb on another level, which helps with recovery. The story will only get better from here! Colonel and Caleb can be seen in the video below! We should never underestimate the strength of a dog’s love. This is evidence!