Michael, who has autism, attends Gregori High School with Skilled Companion Dog Nina (along with a dog handler). Nina has been a huge social bridge for Michael. Everyone knows Michael, largely because he is the boy with the cool dog.
Michael has another huge influence in his life, his best friend Tyler. They met in PE class their freshman year and have been great friends ever since.
On the big night, Michael was thrilled!
“I have never seen Michael happier. He was so excited, ecstatic even,” says Michael’s mother Sally. “Nina responded like the champ that she is, just another day in the office.”
Sally continues, “My favorite moment was seeing Michael’s face as he won, and seeing Tyler’s face. My 19-year old daughter Katie had tears running down her face, she was so happy for him. This was a moment we never could have imagined, certainly not for a boy with severe autism.”
After Michael was crowned, Sally told Tyler to get a touchdown for Michael. Two minutes later, he did. The announcer said, “That’s Tyler, Michael Ferlmann’s best friend.” A couple minutes later, there was an announcement asking for one of Michael’s parents to go to the announcer’s booth. When Sally arrived, the announcers gave her Tyler’s touchdown ball and said the Gregori team wanted Michael to have it.
What a night! What a team! What a story!
Thank you to the Ferlmann family for sharing it with us.
For more information on our skilled companion dogs, click here.