Before too long, 9-year-old Zach Thibodeaux of Lewisville, Texas, will not be able to see the world around him.
More than a year ago, Zach was diagnosed with cone-rod dystrophy -- an incurable disease that is quickly robbing him of his eyesight, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Thankfully, Zach will not have to face the darkness alone. On New Year's Day, hope bounded into the boy's life in the form of a yellow Labrador puppy named Natura.
“There are so many things that are frightening for anyone going visually impaired -- let alone being a child. Natura will be a border and a bridge between him and the community,” said Sandi Alsworth of Guide Dogs For The Blind -- the organization that connected Zach with his new furry friend.
Zach's mother, Johnann Uek, called the program "a godsend" and said that getting the dog had rendered her usually talkative son "speechless," CNN reports.
"It's just more fun to have a dog and not be alone," Zach said.
Correction: In a previous headline, Zach Thibodeaux's canine friend had been referred to as a "guide dog," rather than a "companion dog."