Hope for Joshua
Nothing could prepare Abby and Martin Raynes for the brutal shock of hearing the word ‘autism’ in conjunction with their child. In one fell swoop, all their hopes and dreams were smashed into a thousand tiny fragments. What was once just a word in the dictionary becomes a living, breathing part of their lives.
As she desperately seeks help for her son, Abby battles her own fears and dwindling hopes for her child’s future. Then one day, while playing at the park, a black Labrador approaches Joshua and Abby. Joshua and the stray develop an instant connection. Despite her own aversion to dogs, Abby can’t bring herself to leave the emaciated dog behind. Reluctantly, she brings the dog home, hoping to reunite it with its owner or find her a good home. But it soon becomes apparent the dog’s bond with Joshua is anything but ordinary. Is it just wishful thinking, or has the dog succeeding in breaking through the walls of Joshua’s autism?
Hope for Joshua delves into the emotional and physical turmoil of raising a child on the autism spectrum. Although this book is a work of fiction, it is based on countless true stories of non-verbal individuals on the autism spectrum who found their voice through interactions with an animal. It raises awareness to the realities of autism and introduces readers to the benefits often derived from interaction with dogs, especially those trained as autism service dogs.