BLOOMINGDALE, Ga. (WTOC) - There is one part of the day 3-year-old Anthony Lochiatto looks forward to the most.
“At about three o’clock, he comes over and the first thing he does is go to his chickens and he plays with them until he gets ready to go home,” says Anthony’s grandmother Brenda Thompson.
A special bond between a boy and his chickens. A bond that goes deeper than you might think.
“Anthony was non-verbal for a long time,” said Thompson.
Anthony has autism, but through therapy and time with his chickens, he’s started talking and his family started noticing other changes as well.
“He used to be really aggressive and he’s learned to calm down a lot. So, to care for something is teaching him patience and kindness and how to care for something other than himself,” said Anthony’s mother Adrian Lochiatto.
So, they decided to let Anthony pick out some baby chicks of his own.
“His mom bought him four baby chicks - two black, a gold and a yellow,” said Thompson.
Naturally, they became fast friends. But sadly, this past weekend, two of those baby chicks were stolen.
“When I came out here with him and he got his other two chicks he was like, ‘where?’ I mean it kind of breaks your heart a little bit,” said Lochiatto.
A simple question that it seems doesn’t have such a simple answer.
“You don’t know what to tell your son, or how to explain it and he doesn’t understand that they’re gone, so, that’s a little hard,” Lochiatto says.
While they searched for the words to say, it was their community that may have responded best.
“So many people have reached out. It just shows that even though some bad things happen in the community there’s so many good people out there and they’re all willing to come together and help,” said Lochiatto.
Anthony was given three new baby chicks completely free, and had plenty of other offers which restored some hope during a dark time.
But his grandmother says things could be made just a little brighter by one more act of kindness.
“I just would like for him to have his chicken’s back. He’s what’s important to me. That’s my heart. Just bring them back and it’s forgotten.”
They say whoever took the chicks bent their fencing, moved a wooden pallet and unlatched the coup, which couldn’t have been done by an animal.
Anthony’s family says they are also concerned for the safety of the baby chicks and if they aren’t returned, they hope whoever took them knows how to properly care for them.