Community comes together to give Manny a best friend - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community comes together to give Manny a best friend

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Like many 7-year-olds, Manny Harris likes to play outside with his best friend. 

But the bond between this duo is special. 

Manny has Autism, a neurological disorder that impairs social interaction making it hard to communicate. 

Chyenne, a 2-year-old Shar Pei mix, is a service dog trained to be a companion for special needs children. 

Children like Manny, who is unable to talk and is attracted to noise. 

“[He’s attracted to] traffic, deep fryers, chainsaws, water—He’s almost drown twice and he’s been lost in a neighborhood once,” Jessica Harris said. 

A dangerous combination making trips to the store or anywhere nearly impossible for his mom Jessica and brother Jake, who is also Autistic. 

“I’d squeeze his hand too tight just trying to hold onto him and he got very good at breaking your grasp and crawling away and just taking off,” she added. 

An Internet search brought Jessica to Wilderwood Service Dogs. A group out of Maryville, Tennessee. 

But Jessica would need $12,000 to make it happen. 

With help from the community, it did. 

“People were reading the story and helping us without even knowing us or seeing the end result,” she said. 

Wherever Manny goes, Chyenne goes too. 

She’s able to protect and calm Manny in ways like no one else. 

Giving Manny a kind of independence and Jessica some peace of mind like they’ve never had before. 

“I looked down and he was walking and he was swinging his arms. I had never seen my 7-year-old son swing his arms back and forth. I had never seen him walk alone like that,” she said. 

And a new meaning to the term “Man’s best friend.”

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