CLEVELAND - Five-year-old Avery suffers from an undiagnosed disorder. As we watched Avery and his mom talk to Cleveland police, we saw one of his symptoms.
"Whoopsy," said Julie Hamilton, Avery's mother, as her son began to shake slightly, "We don't know what it is ... they just say it's not seizure activity. We can't diagnose it."
Hamilton said Avery's symptoms are similar to that of Cerebellar Ataxia and because of it the 5-year-old can't walk, sit or stand on his own. But he's a curious kid with a smile that captured the heart of a Cleveland police officer.
"I don't know. It was just the way he was smiling at me. I just connected with him," said K-9 Unit Officer Antonio Colon. The Cleveland police officer and his K-9, Jet, first met Avery at an Indians game. Avery and his mother were in town from Chicago for a visit to the Cleveland Clinic.
"He asked him if he liked the dog. He brought out his police dog. It all spiraled from there," said Hamilton.
That’s what brought the young boy to Cleveland's east side, where Colon, along with the city's mounted unit introduced Avery to the entire Cleveland police animal force on Thursday.
As excited as Hamilton was, she also said the experience was a challenge for Avery.
“Visually, it can become over-stimulating for him and that he would all of a sudden close down because it's overwhelming for him,” Hamilton said.
Those reactions, Hamilton said, are due to Avery's disability, but on Thursday the 5-year-old was all smiles. His mother said it was an experience that has been, both mentally and socially, a giant step of independence for Avery.
"I'm still in awe right now as to how far the police department has gone for my son," said Hamilton.
"Our job is not just finding the bad people. It's about being there for the little people too,” Colon said.
Avery also got a chance to meet Cleveland's motorcycle patrol and is already planning another visit.
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Cuyahoga Co. Headlines
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