Destiny Fiaschetti had a busy career in the US Army, but she always knew that one day she would want to adopt a child with special needs. She now lives in Seffner, Florida in the USA and dedicates her life to Janie, whom she welcomed when he was 2 years old.
This 5 year old autistic boy is blind. “He is completely blind and suffers from septo-optic dysplasia, a rare condition that led to his vision loss and pan hypopituitarism, a pituitary disorder,” Destiny said.
This pathology causes adrenal insufficiency. In other words, Janie doesn’t produce the stress hormone that helps manage her emotions.
Despite all the wise advice from the pros, Janie struggled to get out of her shell. But with Merlot by his side, everything changed.
“Toddlers Junie’s age are learning how to care for a dog. They need to be fed, brushed, walked… We teach them basic obedience techniques so they can work together and maintain an emotional connection. This way, as adults, they will be ready to live with a guide dog. Children gain tremendous trust,” explained Cathy Perez of the nonprofit.
As Merlo and Junie share daily life, the boy has made significant progress. “Before Merlo arrived, Janie didn’t talk or walk. Now he’s very talkative and loves to make friends,» Destiny said.
Likewise, thanks to her faithful four-legged companion, Janie has grown into a true little adventurer. In their free time, the duo take long walks in nature or even go swimming.
The boy and the dog are now inseparable. Destiny is happy to see her son thrive thanks to his furry friend.