A 9-year-old boy and his rescue pup are helping more dogs find forever homes in Houston.

The Petco Foundation is awarding $25,000 to Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue, the non-profit that connected Johnny and Lexi.

"He smiles when she's up there with him,” said Katherine Scardasis-Finn, his mother.

It’s hard not to fall in love with the bond they share.

"He'll crack up and he'll laugh, just because Lexi is licking his hands," she said.

Neither has had it easy.

"He has severe Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy," Scardasis-Finn said.

"Lexi came to us as a puppy, she was found outside,” said Lauri Neale, with Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue. "She was covered in fleas and really, really thin, she obviously had not been taken care of.”

It was through the rescue group they found each other.

"She put her head on his shoulder within five minutes of being in the house,” Scardasis-Finn said.

However, it was a quick Facebook post that got the most attention.

"All I wanted to do was update the foster mom to let her know how happy we were,” Scardasis-Finn said.

Now, it's Johnny & Lexi's story being shared across the country.

"To be a finalist in the Petco Holiday Wishes Campaign is just a dream for us," Neale said.

The non-profit is being awarded $25,000 dollars to do more rescues in Houston.

"We'll be able to help a lot more dogs,” Neale said.

Dogs like Lexi, who make little things like daily therapy sessions easier.

"It just makes me feel very good that he has a companion now," Scardasis-Finn said.

Friends reminding family of one of life's many lessons in licks of love.

"Johnny taught us not to be judgmental because you never know,” she said. "We took a chance and she ended up being the best thing to ever happen for Johnny."

Johnny and Lexi have a chance to double their reward money. They’re up for the People's Choice Award. You can vote and share on Facebook here. Volunteers plan to use the money on vet bills to get more rescues ready to go home with kids just like Johnny.