Whether it's taking a drink on command or patiently waiting as a tentative hand pets his back, Kobe has been the link to the unconditional love that children with autism don't always know.
"I brought him in when he was four months old and he knew, he knew he was working with special needs kids," says owner Suzanne Allman. "He didn't jump, he didn't bark. He just laid down beside them."
Life brings changes for all of us and Kobe is retiring Wednesday. He has a bit of arthritis. But Wednesday is also his 11th birthday, and you can't leave without a proper party with birthday cards, funny hats and a song.
Kobe is expected to return to the school he's worked at every once in a while so the children can read to him in the library. The school also has three other dogs that help the kids.