Five-year-old Quaden Bayles has been teased about his appearance for his entire life, and until recently, he felt very self-conscious about having a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia. Because the Australian child has a different rate of limb growth and is much shorter than other kids, he's been relentlessly taunted about his condition in public — even by adults. But thanks to an adopted senior dog, Quaden is now learning to love his dwarfism.
Buddy, a 9-year-old Shih Tzu rescue, also has achondroplasia; the dog's similar condition is what convinced Quaden's family to adopt the pooch after a veterinarian friend asked for their help. The responsibilities of bringing home a new dog are no easy task, but providing a forever home for Buddy has been the best decision for the Bayles family.
"Quaden now proudly accepts that he's got dwarfism, because Buddy's given him that reason to think that it's cool," his mom, Yarraka Bayles, told Today. "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, because we are not allowed to say dwarfism or achondroplasia . . . Pretty much overnight, it's changed Quaden's confidence. It's been an instant confidence booster, where he's now accepting his diagnosis so happily, like it's cool to have dwarfism now. Buddy has made him accept it as OK, and that we're in this together."
You can get updates about Quaden and Buddy's newfound best-friendship on their family's dwarfism awareness Facebook page, Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism. There's nothing more special than finding the perfect pet, and it's so fun to follow their journey!