Sick Children's Health Often Suffers After Loss of Pets, Equipment

"He may understand, but he doesn't know how to let us know. I know he's very happy when he's swinging. Movement is great for kids like him. He loves movement. That's very common to kids with brain injuries."

Micah cannot play on swings in nearby parks, his mother said.

"He has a hard time breathing, so we have a portable deep suction machine that has to go with him everywhere, and it's too cumbersome to take to the park so he has to stay close to home."

Cindy DeSplinter can be contacted at

William Sullivan and Bob the Tortoise

Bob is a very special 45-pound tortoise.

Not only has he been a part of the Sullivan family for more than 10 years, Bob was the only one able to coax 6-year-old autistic William Sullivan out of his shell.

"The tortoise was my son's link to the world," Dorothy Sullivan, William's mom, told "[William] was nonverbal and noncommunicative with the world -- including myself -- but for some reason at a very early age he could respond to the tortoise," she said.

One day, "I walked downstairs and I heard my son carrying on a conversation with the tortoise," said Sullivan. Before that day, "my child had made no noise at all."

But on a summer night in July, Sullivan went to check on Bob before she went to bed, like she always did, and found the 25-year-old tortoise missing. She knew immediately that he had been stolen.

Bob was stolen, stabbed and slashed with a knife. By the time Sullivan found him he had also suffered a cracked shell.

William unfortunately saw Bob when he came home bloodied and near death, and became hysterical, said Sullivan.

"Bob was William's first mate," said Sullivan. "When Bob got sick, William was convinced he was going to die."

The suspect in the tortoise attack, according to KEYT-3 News in Santa Barbara, Calif., is 18-year-old Tony Mosquedo. In an interview with, Sullivan described Mosquedo as a neighborhood teenager who was always trying to "look tough."

Bob recovered at Turtle Dreams Rehabilitation center, where clinic owner, Jeanie Vaughan, told that he had to have a feed tube inserted in order to survive.

Bob is now back at home with the Sullivans. Despite having had five surgeries, however, he is expected to need more. His hind legs were severely damaged in the incident.

William, too, has yet to recover completely.

"My son has definitely gone backward to quite a large degree," said Sullivan. "He went back into his shell and wasn't talking or communicating. We had to take him to a therapist, and [the incident] brought his seizures back."

"But Bob being home and William being able to see Bob walking around without a limp has helped," Sullivan said. "But William still talks about what happened every day."

Christian Vasquez and Anniversary

When 3-year-old Christian Vasquez's wish of having his very own horse came true this past August, life for the young cancer patient got a whole lot brighter.

Christian, who suffers from malignant brain cancer, received a miniature horse named Anniversary from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. With the help of a volunteer horse trainer, he was able to learn how to care for Anniversary. Christian was even able to ride in a cart Anniversary pulled around his parents' Pampa, Texas, property.

But on Oct. 21, Christian's father went to check on the horse and discovered the animal had been fatally mauled by two pit bulls.

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