MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It is often said that animals can greatly impact a person’s health for the better.
This week’s Kylie’s Kid is a perfect example of that.
Charlie, 16, finally convinced his parents to get a dog after a major surgery. But, like it often happens, Charlie didn’t pick the dog, the dog picked him.
There’s nothing like the love between a boy and his dog.
But, there’s something extra special about Charlie’s love for his beagle, Henry.
“What he does for me emotionally,” Charlie said. “He’s just a great dog.”
At 16-years-old, Charlie has spent a lot of time at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.
He has a rare bone disorder, and during his hospital stays he would look at rescue dogs to pass the time.
“I wanted a dog for – ever,” Charlie said.
“He went online and there are so many dogs to look at online,” Charlie’s mom, Deb Schultz said.
But it wasn’t until his parents saw him interacting with the therapy dogs in the hospital that they got on board.
“I finally convinced my parents to let me get one,” Charlie said.
They called the shelter with specific instructions: A dog that didn’t jump, bark and wouldn’t run away from Charlie.
That’s when they met Charlie’s first dog, Toby.
“He just came right up to Charlie and put his paws on his wheelchair,” Deb said. “Charlie said ‘Nope, I don’t need to see any more. This is the dog.'”
After Toby passed, they didn’t want to wait long for another four-legged friend.
As soon as Charlie was out of the hospital from hip surgery last August, they went back to Midwest Animal Rescue.
“Henry came right up to Charlie, put his paws on the wheelchair but didn’t hurt his legs,” Deb said.
And they’ve been inseparable ever since.
“When I’m depressed, or stressed out, it’s just a nice furry friend,” Charlie said.
From naps on the couch to walks every night together, the two are always together.
“He takes him for walks so he gets a little exercise,” Deb said.
Charlie’s latest hip surgery not only made walks with Henry that much easier, it’s also upped his game on the field.
“I do like to play baseball, stuff like that,” Charlie said.
Last year, Charlie’s even helped lead his adaptive softball team to the State Championships with a batting average over 800.
“I’ve been playing it for a long time and finally being able to be on a team is really special to me,” Charlie said.
But win or lose, no matter the day, Charlie can always count on Henry to be there when he gets home.
“I don’t know who’s more excited to see who,” Deb said.
“I love Henry a lot,” Charlie said.