Pit bulls often get a bad rap. So do kids with autism.

Both are misunderstood. But what happens when you put the two of them together? Magic.

Just ask Amanda Granados of Los Angeles. Her son, Joey, has autism. From an early age, Joey turned away from his mom's hugs and kisses. He would not let his mom hold his hand. He preferred to be alone. According to his mom, Joey had a really difficult time adjusting in social situations.

But Joey has recently met a new friend that has opened up his heart to his mom and others in his world. That friend is Roxy, a a goofy, loving pit bull who knows how it feels to have people look at you and think you are something you are not.

Fourteen-year-old Joey had been asking his mom for a dog for some time to help him deal with the loneliness of his life with autism. Just after Thanksgiving, Amanda was perusing the website for the local animal shelter when she came across Roxy's picture and just knew that this would be a good match.

As Joey tells it, when he and his mom went down to the shelter to look at Roxy, the dog walked right passed Amanda and jumped on Joey's lap. The two have been best friends ever since. And Roxy has opened up Joey's world to the love and affection of others. 

“I get emotional thinking about it,” Amanda Granados recently told "Today." "For all those years, he wouldn’t hold my hand, he wouldn’t hug me — it was all part of the autism — but this dog has taught him how to give and show affection. He holds my hand now! He hugs me! The first time I got a kiss on the cheek was when Roxy came home.”

Joey told "Today" that Roxy has made it easier for him to give and receive affection.

"I didn't have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I've been able to make friends ever since," Joey said. "At home, I've been able to hold my mom's hand, kiss her, hug her and do a lot of things that I hadn't been able to do growing up.

"She's opened up my heart."

According to Amanda, the best part about the bond between Roxy and Joey is that there are no judgments. Just true friendship. And lots and lots of love.

Want to see this adorable pair in action? Check it out: