A 5-year-old boy and his pup are proving that dogs really are a man’s best friend, in more ways than one.
Quaden Bayles, an Australian boy with dwarfism, has led a difficult life so far, according to his family. As someone who often stands out physically in public due to his condition, Quaden has had to endure a lot of ridicule that would be difficult to cope with as an adult, never mind a child. Half the height of someone his own age and with limbs that grow at a slower rate than the average kid, Quaden has become very self-conscious of his appearance, even forbidding his family from using the word “dwarfism.”
As his mom, Yarraka Bayles, shared on their Facebook page, Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism, Quaden is frequently made fun of by both adults and kids alike.
“Shopping centers are the worst. He had a kid come straight up to his face last month at our shopping center and say, ‘Oooh, yuck!'” said Bayles. “People think he’s just a freak and very openly say, ‘What’s wrong with him? Why does he have such a big head?’ Or they’ll say, ‘He’s ugly. He looks scary.'”
As heartbreaking as this is to hear, it seems everything in Quaden’s world is now looking up because of Buddy, the aptly named Shih Tzu that the Bayles family recently adopted. According to Quaden’s mom, Buddy has become a true best friend and savior for Quaden, thanks to one unique similarity: Buddy has dwarfism, too.
Finding a companion that not only shares his condition but is also pretty darn fun to play with has completely transformed Quaden.
“It’s been an instant confidence booster, where he’s now accepting his diagnosis so happily, like it’s cool to have dwarfism now,” Bayles recently told TODAY. “Buddy has made him accept it as OK, and that we’re in this together … So he tells everyone, ‘My dog has dwarfism like me,’ and it’s the first time we’ve ever, in Quaden’s five years of life, heard him say the word.”
Buddy was given to Quaden by a veterinarian family friend, who asked the Bayles family for their assistance in finding the 9-year-old Shih Tzu a home. Little did they know, it would be the best decision they ever made.
“Buddy has made things better,” said Bayles. “It was divine intervention, definitely — the last thing that I would have expected or wanted, but it’s what we needed, and we’re so blessed.”
I can only imagine what it must be like to feel as though you are an outsider in your own world; but possibly unbeknownst to Quaden, his strength and perseverance has already impacted so many.
As Quaden’s 16-year-old sister, Lala, shared, “He’s taught us so much already, especially not to judge others but most of all he makes us appreciate things more and not take things for granted so we don’t complain about the way we look or what we can’t do. We just have to try to always focus on the positive.”
In addition to the positive impact Quaden has had on his sister, the Bayles family is working towards spreading dwarfism awareness and acceptance to others through Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism.
We hope that Quaden’s self-confidence only grows taller from here.More On