The Story Of This Child With Learning Disabilities And His Furry Friend Is Going Viral For All The Right Reasons

It is the wish of every parent to raise a healthy, happy child, and there is not much that will stop a parent from achieving that. In the case of 6-year-old Danny Mangold, this is no different.

The adopted son of Dixie Morgan has worked hard throughout his life to overcome his challenging developmental disabilities, and there is nothing Dixie would not do to help him. Due to the love and support from his family along with the help of an unusual new teacher, Danny has had an uplifting breakthrough.

The reason behind his progress is truly moving and bound to bring on the tears.


12. A New Family For Danny

001-12-a-new-family-for-danny-f1c0168871ee7aa8d4f23da003b55d00Danny’s parents were only 17 when he was born. Unable to care for him, they decided to put him up for adoption. Friend of the family, Dixie Morgan, was happy to adopt the baby, however, it did not take long to notice that Danny suffered from extreme developmental disabilities.

11. Difficulty Keeping Up

002-11-difficulty-keeping-up-20e23bde05f5e9b2cdf1b540f159ff04As Danny grew up, he lagged behind his peers. Tasks such as sitting up and eating solid foods did not come easy for him, resulting in Dixie needing to look into developmental therapy for help.

She told the Los Angles Times in 1999, “we coached him, we urged him, we encouraged him. But we knew from the first time we met him that he had problems.”

10. New Move, New Life

003-10-new-move-new-life-c3300c9bac6a5d89e40c62860dc5f0b0At the age of 5, Danny was doing better but still behind his classmates. He had difficulty speaking and was not yet toilet-trained. It was during this time that Dixie decided to make a move to Ojai where she married her high school sweetheart.

The move brought along new neighbors and a new life, both of which would be exactly what Danny needed.

9. Meet Saki

004-9-meet-saki-e73120377b76694ad029efe50482ef31Next door lived animal service trainer Dennie and her new trainee Saki. Saki was a stray whose impressive temperament caught the attention of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. Training a search dog is no easy feat, and it’s even harder to find as perfect a candidate as Saki was.

Saki endured excessive training, and while was an ideal student, Saki had a tendency of wandering off – specifically to the house next door.

8. New Friends

005-8-new-friends-f755e5d06f09ae01a3cd0bef49050f2eSaki’s trips to the family next door resulted in a new bond between her and Danny. Never being one for any type of social situation, Danny quickly took a liking to the dog much to Dixie’s surprise.

“Socially, he doesn’t always interact effectively with his peers. But he did with the dog. Saki understood him. They understood each other.”

It turned out this friendship was more than social for Danny as Dixie soon began to see some changes.

7. Noticing A Change

006-7-noticing-a-change-4ce43d78db5752ca8c3262699c17f505Over a short time, the bond between Danny and Saki began to grow, with the two playing together for hours and taking naps together. They were truly the best of friends.

Soon, Dixie started to notice something incredible happening. Danny’s condition began to progress, and the 6-year-old was starting to do more and more.

6. Could Saki Be The Reason?

007-6-could-saki-be-the-reason-3e70d5597e9d19464b6d05b27f2765a6At first, Dixie was not convinced that the connection between the dog and Danny had anything to do with his progress. Sure, he was speaking more, even referring to himself as “Saki’s dad” and telling others Saki was his puppy, and yes he was even developing his motor skills by playing fetch with the dog.

But could the dog be the reason for his sudden breakthrough?

5. Saki’s Mission

008-5-saki-s-mission-89377b9803f2c4fb2cb34013fc77b651Soon Dixie accepted the strange circumstance. Saki was truly the greatest teacher Danny ever had. The issue now was getting Saki to stay.

Saki’s stay with Dennie was on a temporary basis as the dog trained to be a search and rescue dog. Once Saki’s training was complete the dog would be gone.

4. Enlisting Help

009-4-enlisting-help-db6952f4b5a1720df5914378f78de612Since Saki was training for an elite position, the idea of keeping the dog around was harder to put into action than anticipated. According to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, 1 in every 50 dogs are eligible to be a search and rescue dog.

Unfortunately for Danny, Saki fit the criteria and would not be able to stick around.

3. Refusing To Take No For An Answer

010-3-refusing-to-take-no-for-an-answer-91cae0411e072c86c08326549e4f2f20When it comes to a child’s happiness, a parent is not going to just give up, and Dixie still had some fight left. After watching Danny struggle for years, she could not let Saki go so easily.

So she placed a call to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s president, Wilma Melville, and invited her over to see for herself the connection between the boy and Saki.

2. Saki The Rescue Dog

011-2-saki-the-rescue-dog-bea274a8c2021586be08a82a01c7f2ffAfter the meeting, Wilma knew Saki was a true rescue dog, and the boy she was rescuing needed her at home. The decision was difficult, but Saki was released from her obligations to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Speaking to the Los Angles Times, Wilma expressed the feeling behind her decision, “To let the dog go, it was not easy. But we decided that the dog had a real use here. She and Danny made a very heartwarming attachment.”

1. Unbreakable Bond

012-1-unbreakable-bond-1c1c9d0c20d3ea8bd915d077f436af23Danny and his family were thrilled. Saki quickly adapted to her new life as housedog and Danny flourished with his new responsibilities of Saki’s care.

Being put in charge of taking care of Saki has done wonders for Danny and his development. The two are inseparable and simply cannot live without the other.

The bond between a boy and his dog is always a special one, but the connection Danny and Saki share is especially heartfelt. The relationship shows that sometimes the only way to be truly understood is through the heart of an animal.

Their connection gave Danny the confidence to grow, and the love they have for one another is truly unconditional. The story of Danny and Saki is an inspirational one reflecting on countless research showing the positive effects of therapy with the use of animals.

It was fate that brought together Saki and Danny resulting in a happy ending for a boy and his dog.


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