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A young boy with autism cries with joy as his mom surprises him with a tiny pet puppy.

Cohen Wade had been doing well at school and socially, so his mom Ashley wanted to get him the puppy to further help him socially.

Research has found pet dogs can greatly help children with autism, and Ashley, from Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, revealed the puppy’s influence is already apparent.

In the heartwarming video, Cohen approaches the puppy – hidden beneath a blanket – with nervous excitement, before realizing it’s a dog and crying happy tears.

-Scroll down to see heartwarming video-

After giving Ashley a huge cuddle, he goes back to the dog, which they have named Ru, gently picks it up and cuddles it in his arms.

Ashley said: “Cohen has autism and has been doing so well socially, at school and at boxing and football training making friends – I’m so proud of him.

“My partner and I got him a surprise puppy and I was surprised myself at the reaction it was priceless. Now they’re best buddies and follow each other everywhere.

“Cohen’s autism affects him most socially and that is why we got the puppy.”

Research from the University of Lincoln in the UK found children with autism experience fewer meltdowns in the presence of a pet dog, and their parents’ stress levels are significantly lowered.

Dogs can also make a difference to confidence levels, help reduce anxiety, improve communication and help families do more together.

Ashley added: “Ru has helped Cohen be more confident, happier, relaxes him and taught him to be more caring – he’s always telling us to make sure we feed him until he’s home.

“They are both protective of each other and following each other around, running besides each other whenever we are out.”

Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media.