When Christy Ford took to social media asking for help with her nephew’s birthday present, she never expected her post to go viral. She made a simple request asking friends and family to send pictures of their dogs. Her plan was to collect as many dog pictures as she could and put them in a book for her dog-loving nephew, Tyler. Within a few days, however, it wasn’t just people she knew who were sending Tyler photos.
People from around the world wanted to help celebrate Tyler’s birthday, and Tyler’s charisma is now inspiring thousands.
According to Tyler’s mother, Shanda Ford, Tyler was born with a chromosomal condition called cri-du-chat. He struggles with fine and gross motor skills and is in constant pain due to hip dysplasia. He has also been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder–a condition that can easily turn every day into chaos.
Despite these difficulties, people who know Tyler can’t help but mention his radiant smile and constant perseverance.
Shanda wrote on Facebook,
“To watch him endure these things day in and day out, knowing he does not have the ability to verbalize his discomforts and exhaustion, makes him nothing less than a hero in my book. Nonetheless, he continues to show grace to live life to its fullest, braving each day with that contagious smile on his face.”
Tyler faces immeasurable challenges every day, but his love of dogs helps him cope.
He has two Australian Shepherds named Bango and Fiddle, and he loves dogs of all sizes, breeds, and personalities.
For Tyler, dogs are a passion. He enjoys meeting new dogs, and Christy said in a Facebook post that he remembers every dog he meets. That’s what inspired her to plan this special birthday present full of as many dog pictures as she can get.
Christy knew that Tyler would be thrilled to have a whole book of dog pictures complete with the dogs’ names and breeds. She’s busy putting the book together, but it’s turned into an even bigger project than she imagined.
After her original post was shared a few times, the love kept on going. Dog lovers from around the world saw Christy’s request, and they continued to pass it on. Her post has been shared thousands of times, and the idea has gotten so large, she made a Facebook page dedicated to Tyler’s love of dogs.
Every day, the mail brings dozens of letters and packages. Tyler has received dog pictures from all 50 states as well as several countries. There are thousands of pictures of dogs, and some people have sent other gifts and small treasures.
Christy posted on Facebook before Valentine’s day about how an incredibly thoughtful little girl sent Tyler her favorite stuffed puppy because she wanted to make him smile.
Through Christy’s project, thousands of people have expressed compassion and kindness. They’ve sent heartfelt messages of encouragement and friendship. What started off as a birthday present has turned into a whole lot more.
Tyler’s birthday is in April, and Christy is collecting dog pictures until March 30. If you’d like to send Tyler pictures of your dogs, send them to:
Tyler c/o Christy Ford
PO Box 1036 Trinity, NC 27370
Christy requests that all photos be either 3×5 or 4×6. She also asks for people to write the name of the dog, the dog’s breed, and the dog’s owner’s name on the back of each photo.
Follow Tyler’s PAW Strings on Facebook!