Rescued Dog And Bullied Boy Save Each Other, Now BFFs

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Jordan Radlick was a happy, healthy 12-year-old Michigan boy – at least until he entered 7th grade. That’s when other kids started bullying him for having alopecia, a rare condition that left the tween without hair, eyebrows or eyelashes. The bullying got so bad that Radlick’s mother, Cheri, pulled her sweet boy out of that school, enrolled him in online classes, and enlisted a therapist to help her once happy-go-lucky boy deal with his growing depression.

The therapist suggested that the Radlicks adopt a rescue dog, which could Jordan help alleviate some of his anxiety and depression. This led Cheri to contact Paws for Life, a Maryland-based group that rescues and rehabilitates dogs from high-kill shelters around the United States. When Cheri briefed Paws for Life’s executive director Courtney Protz-Sanders on the situation, Protz-Sanders said she had the perfect dog in mind.

Fred was an Australian shepherd/lab mix spent the bulk of his short life locked in a crate. The now four-year-old dog’s skin liaisons and in-grown nails had since healed, but he still needed a patient buddy o help him nurse him back to complete health.

“I can tell you from the minute Jordan got out of the car and he saw Fred, it was love at first sight,” Cheri recalls of their first meeting. Months later, the pair still spend all of their time together — from playing, to sleeping, to the daily leg exercises intended to help Fred regain his strength. Jordan, too, has benefitted from the constant companionship, says Cheri, pointing to her son’s sudden surge in confidence.

“Fred has changed Jordan’s life so much,” she says, describing Fred as everything she’s hoped for – and more. “I don’t know how I can even express into words the magnitude that Fred has done with my son, “ Cheri said, crediting both Paws and Fred for Jordan’s remarkable turnaround.

“I really believe that without the love and companionship of Fred, that my son wouldn’t be where he is today,” she says. “My son was rescued by a rescue dog.”

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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