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Oelwein Boy with Autism Gets Help from Service Dog

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OELWEIN, Iowa  --  There's nothing quite like the bond between a child and their dog, but in 10-year-old Jaxon Growden's case, the bond is even stronger.

Jaxon is a quiet boy with a big heart. He also has autism, and one service dog is helping him open up.

KWWL's Taylor Bailey talked to Jaxon and his family about the relationship between Jaxon and Jax the service dog.

Jaxon's mother Marcy says she knew something was off when her son was still not speaking at four years old.

"He was autistic," she said.

This made life more complicated for the Growdens, who did not want to let their eyes wander from their son.

"He almost got hit by a car and it was terrifying, screaming bloody murder for it to stop and all you can see is what's gonna happen in slow motion," said Marcy.

A service dog would help in those types of situations.

"It's not a replacement for me, its not a replacement for just common sense safety issues, I am not asking the dog to take care of him," said Marcy. "I am just asking for another tool to help his life be better."

Jaxon has a dog at home, but his mother says her son wants nothing to do with him. This is why she was so shocked when the boy worked so well with Jax. She says a service dog would change their lives.

"This dog would open up a world for him that is nothing I imagined. I mean you just get so used to your limitations that you accept them and you just make the best out of it," said Marcy.

When asked what Jaxon would like a service dog to do for him, he answered, "Give me help."

Jax was only at the Growdens' home for a visit with Jaxon. His family is still working with the group Retrieving Freedom to find him a permanent service dog.

For more information about Retrieving Freedom, based in Waverly, visit

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