7-year-old Quaden Bayles, from Brisbane, Australia, was diagnosed with the most common form of dwarfism, called achondroplasia, when he was born. Throughout his life, the stares and comments he’s gotten from strangers have been devastating to his mom, Yarraka Bayles. And recently, Quaden has begun realizing how he’s treated differently than other people too.
“Strangers in the street stop and stare at him and he’s been called ‘ugly,’ a ‘freak,’ and a ‘midget’ by others. It’s heartbreaking,” said Bayles.
Quaden has been “very vocal” about not liking people staring at him, and he hates hearing the word “dwarf.” He gets angry when kids at school point him out and has even shouted, “What are you looking at?!” at the offending children.
Bayles tried to boost her son’s confidence with positive reinforcement, but to no avail. Quaden was distancing himself from his peers and feeling worse and worse about his appearance.
Until, that is, he met Buddy.
Buddy is a little shih tzu dog who has exactly the same condition that Quaden has. Bayles was quick to adopt the little white dog, who is the perfect size for a pet for Quaden.
“Quaden just adores his new pal and they do everything together,” Bayles said. “Buddy comes up to Quaden’s waist and is the perfect companion. Quaden is so proud of Buddy and the fact he has dwarfism too. We went to the park the other day and he was telling everyone they were both dwarves. It was lovely to see.”
Although the dog’s previous owners did decide to take him back, Bayles and Quaden still count themselves as blessed for having known him. Quaden now has a newfound confidence and an appreciation for his disease because of buddy’s help.
“They really are in this journey together and I hope their story helps other people realise it’s cool to be small,” said Bayles.
Keep being you, Quaden and Buddy! The world needs more people who know it’s cool to be different!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?