When Mason Bowling was only five years old, the Tennessee boy had his family put out an appeal to the community for help. The family wanted to get Mason, who has autism, a therapy dog trained to help autistic children like Mason cope with everyday life. The community, along with the internet, quickly came together for the young boy, and only a year later, the six-year-old was accomplishing a major milestone in life: he graduated from kindergarten! And the best part, was his therapy dog, Kevin, was right by his side the entire time.
Photo: Facebook/Danielle Stevens Bowling
Besides struggling with autism, Mason also had a genetic chromosome disorder. In order to get their son a service dog, the family would’ve been looking at $25,000. That is when the Bowling family appealed to the kindness in their community by organizing fundraisers to get together the money for the service dog. However, the outpouring of support was something they did not expect – even Damon Johnson, a former University of Tennessee and professional basketball player, helped them raise money by organizing a basketball tournament!
As one can imagine, the community’s care and assistance eventually paid off and the Bowling family were able to eventually get Mason his therapy dog, Kevin.
The adorable doggie came to live with the Bowling family and soon provided Mason with lots of patience and love, helping the young boy to manage his aggression and meltdowns, as well as be there as an encouraging buffer during social interactions – helping him to build them up. In addition to all that, Kevin also helped Mason with medication if he ever needed it. It didn’t take long for the two to become the very best of friends.
Speaking to News Channel 11, Mason’s mom, Danielle Bowling, said, “I hope that he is understood better, by the dog calming him. We’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. We’re in hopes that this will be it.”
Granted, at the time of the interview, Kevin was new to the Bowling family. Since then, Danielle went on to confirm what we all knew would happen – Kevin fit right into the family, and was doing amazing in his role as Mason’s friend and therapy dog. Kevin mad managed to already be there for a huge moment in Mason’s life – graduating kindergarten – and he’ll undoubtedly be there for many, many more big moments. And that is why service dogs are the absolute best boys and girls.