Many people have friends and family who’re able to assist in times of trauma. For a 6-year-old who suffered from traumatic brain injury, it was a golden retriever that helped him recover, regain his motivation to live, and even put a smile back on his face.
One fateful day in 2007, Caleb Howard, 6, of Huntsville, Utah, was traveling with his family when a driver cut into their lane, leading to a deadly collision, URBO reported.
Tragically, the devastating car accident claimed the lives of Caleb’s mother, Janine Howard, and his siblings, Esther and Matthew.
Caleb broke several bones and was the only survivor. But even though the boy survived, it was another grueling battle for him because the violent head-on collision killed millions and millions of cells in his brain, resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI).
“We didn’t have any idea what kind of an experience we were going to have,” said Caleb’s grandmother, Alora Howard, in a Facebook video titled “Caleb’s story.”
Caleb’s traumatic brain injury left him fragile, lifeless, and almost unresponsive.
His father, Ben Howard, was pessimistic about Caleb’s recovery until a golden retriever named Colonel, from Intermountain Therapy Animals, came into the little boy’s life.
When Colonel sat by Caleb’s side, he reacted to the dog, and began showing substantial awareness.
Every time Caleb saw Colonel, he was more alert.
“We’re in a hospital environment where nothing is normal,” Ben said. “When the animal comes in, we’re not in a hospital environment anymore.”
With Colonel around, Caleb was able to focus on play while undergoing therapy. He gradually learned to throw a ball for the dog, pat his fur, and give him hugs.
And Caleb did a little more each time Colonel visited.
A month after Colonel’s visit, Caleb’s condition improved by leaps and bounds. Not only was he much more aware and alert, he also regained his mobility, speech, and most importantly—his bright smile!
He returned to be the energetic boy he used to be.
“Do you like Colonel?” Ben asked.
“Yes, a lot!” Caleb said.
Eight years after the tragedy, Caleb was attending school and doing fine. He ended up getting his own dog, named Star.
“I am pleased to share that after 8 years and over a dozen horrific surgeries Caleb is doing great and is attending regular school now and achieving very good grades. He has been a great example of courage to his family and many others. We will never forget Colonel and his wonderful handler Susan,” Ben wrote on Facebook.
Are you amazed by Caleb’s recovery and the healing power of dogs?
The effect of therapy dogs on children is remarkable!
Watch the video: