Darius, known as Dawa to his friends and family, has always loved animals. Any kind of animals would do when it came to a story or a trip to the zoo, but it was a dog of his own to be his new best friend that Dawa wished for the most.
He even had the perfect dog in mind — a small, black Labrador retriever with floppy ears. He wanted a dog about his age, 9, but in dog years because he wanted his new best friend to do tricks, play with him, and run out to meet him when he got home from school.
After meeting Dawa at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer, Dawa’s volunteer wish granters, Erin and Krystal, started the search with the hope that they could locate the best black, floppy-eared dog, one that would fit Dawa’s request.
Arizona Humane Society soon became aware of the search for Dawa’s new best friend and they realized they might have a puppy that fit Dawa’s request. A young black lab named Lucky had been rescued by the Arizona Humane Society in the recent weeks.
Friendly and playful, Lucky was a favorite of the staff almost immediately, and he even became a television star on the society’s weekly adoption show. With a small build and constantly wagging tail, he fit every criteria for a potential best friend, and arrangements were made so Dawa could meet him.
When Dawa and Lucky met for the first time, it was clear they were meant for each other. With the help of a few tasty treats, Dawa helped Lucky show off all of his tricks, and Lucky got in on the fun by pulling Dawa around the room in his wheelchair, making Dawa laugh with excitement.
As the two bonded during Dawa’s weeks of treatment, the list of tricks grew.
“Dawa taught Lucky how to stand up on his hind legs and he kind of does a little dance,” Dawa’s mother Darrelle said. “He has him lay down and kind of roll over and he’d scratch his belly. (Lucky will) sleep with him, and when his friends would come over, Dawa would show his friends all the tricks Lucky could do.”
To round out the wish, Dawa and Lucky were treated to a doggy shopping spree at Petco and a red-carpet check up at Banfield Pet Hospital. Together, Dawa and Lucky picked out toys, treats and grooming supplies so that Lucky would have everything he needed waiting for him at home. Dawa even picked out a special collar tag that would mark Lucky as his very own new best friend.
When it was time to go home for good, Lucky crawled up into Dawa’s lap in the family van, sitting right next to him for the long drive just like a best friend should.
“I thought it was really awesome,” Darrelle said of the whole wish experience. “I think Dawa really bonded with Lucky a lot and just having Lucky here, he has somebody to be here with him, and they’re friends and they play together. I think it really, really helped Dawa a lot with his socializing and just keeping his spirits up. And the same for the family too. It was the perfect wish for all of us.”