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"The incredible story of a family with an autistic son, Dale, who conquers his disability thanks to the special bond he forms with Henry, a golden retriever puppy ... This is a fascinating...
"The incredible story of a family with an autistic son, Dale, who conquers his disability thanks to the special bond he forms with Henry, a golden retriever puppy ... This is a fascinating and inspiring real-life account."
- Woman & Home
a friend like henry
The remarkable true story of an autistic boy and the dog that unlocked his world
When Jamie and Nuala Gardner chose a puppy for their son, Dale, they weren't an ordinary family choosing an ordinary pet. Dale's autism was so severe that the smallest deviation from his routine could provoke a terrifying tantrum. Family life was almost destroyed by his condition, and his parents spent most of their waking hours trying to break into their son's autistic world and give him the help he so desperately needed. But after years of constant effort and slow progress, the Gardners' lives were transformed when they welcomed a new member into the family, Henry, a gorgeous golden retriever puppy. The bond between Dale and his dog would change their lives ...
"This touching story is an emotional rollercoaster."
- Book Review
"Emotionally charged, this is a story that raises powerful issues in a deeply personal and insightful manner."
- Irish Examiner
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Arrival
Chapter 2 A Different Child
Chapter 3 A Lonely Battle
Chapter 4 Henry: A Really Useful Dog
Chapter 5 The Voice
Chapter 6 The Kick
Chapter 7 Make or Break
Chapter 8 A Fitting Tribute
Chapter 9 The Miracle
Chapter 10 Independence
Chapter 11 Tough Decisions
Chapter 12 Harry
Chapter 13 A Whole New World
Chapter 14 Granda George
Chapter 15 Letting Go
In His Own Words
Reading Group Guide
Jamie gently removed the Band-aid, saying, “Dale, I’ll put this in the trash—we won’t need it any more.”
Dale’s face immediately flooded with relief and Jamie left me to say goodnight to him.
“Dale, give Henry his night-time kiss,” I told him. “It’s time to sleep.”
He turned and did so, saying, “Night, night, Henry. Love you. See you in the morning.”
I tucked Dale in and kissed him, saying, “Goodnight, Dale,” as I cautiously turned to leave.
Then came his quiet, upset little voice, wanting more reassurance: “Mummy, Dale loves his dog.”
I didn’t want to make any more of a fuss and carried on, saying, “Yes, darling, and Henry loves Dale.”
As I opened the bedroom door wider, Dale repeated softly, “Mummy, Dale loves his dog.”
“Yes, that’s good,” I replied, still trying to leave. Then I stopped dead in my tracks as his next words hit me.
“And Dale loves his mummy.”
Just five little words, yet I was numb, paralyzed with shock. Then somehow my brain started to function again, although my heart was pounding—I desperately didn’t want to get this wrong. I turned around and knelt down beside Dale’s bed, where I gave him a cautious and gentle hug, telling him, “Mummy loves you, too. And Daddy loves you. Goodnight, Dale.”
His sweet, small voice replied, “And Dale loves Daddy.”
I kissed him on the head, quietly left the room and wept—copious, silent tears. Through this mist I noticed Jamie, who had been waiting on the landing to see whether Dale had settled. We just gazed at each other, disbelieving. Then he took me in his arms as I continued to weep.
Length: 8 in
Width: 5.25 in
Weight: 11.76 oz
Page Count: 280 pages