August 22, 2010

Paws Up for Autism Dog Services!

Autism%20logoAt least once a week we like to venture out to a new walking spot. Sometimes we make it a day-trip to explore new communities. Other times we take a mini exploration in our own community. We explored a new uncharted bike path (for us anyways) last summer in Oshawa.

It was along this path, terror stuck a Labrador retriever named Scotland, a service dog to an Autistic child this past month. Fortunately, Scotland was with an adult and the child was not present at the time. I can only imagine the fear Scotland and the adult walking him felt when they were suddenly attacked by the two dogs who had jumped over their backyard fence. To date, the owner of the dogs that attacked Scotland have not been found. Needless to say, it is my wish (along with many other residents), that they are and held responsible.
CadenAndScotlandWhile viewing the video produced by Oshawa This Week, I was drawn to the bond between Scotland with his charge, 9 year old Caden. I found it a warming sight to see Scotland provide Caden some independence and at the same time provide Caden's Mother a second set of eyes to watch over her son.

Labrador Retrievers have a special place in my heart as I have owned a few; 2 black and one blonde.  They are such intelligent, loving dogs who also have a strong desire to work and serve. These are the characteristics that make Labs such excellent candidates to be trained as service dogs.

The story prompted me to search for other service dogs trained to help children with Autism. Again google came to my aid and led me to many organizations in Canada. One group is an Ontario organization called Autism Dog Services. ADS is committed to enabling and enriching the lives of children with autism by providing highly trained service and therapy dogs.
Autism Dog Services is a non-profit organization located in Southern Ontario. ADS is led by Wade Beattie, one of the world's leading autism service dog trainers. With over 20 years of experience, Wade is one of Canada's most respected guide dog and service dog trainers.
The dogs are raised in volunteer foster homes where the dogs are socialized to all sorts of stimuli. It's important these service dogs behave under all sorts of distractions; traffic, different people, noise, other animals and new surroundings.

It can take time to find the right dog for an autistic child and ensure the dog is also the right fit for the family unit too. Once that perfect match is made, training continues with weekly lessons in the home and at a mall location.  Assistance Dogs International has 10 requirements a service dog must obtain to be considered qualified to serve. It is an intensive training program that requires a special dog to pass. The freedom these children gain because of the service these wonderful dogs are trained to perform is remarkable.

Go Fetch!
Canada Service Dog Information
Assistance Dogs International

~ Ramblings by Debbie

2 Comments:

Mr. Pip said...

What a wonderful program! These dogs are true heroes!

Your pal, Pip

Traci said...

Great information - I had no idea service dogs were able to help autistic children! Hope Scotland is okay. :(

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Loving life with family and friends while exploring my passions; writing and photography. All with my two, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in tow on day-trips along the Greater Toronto Area waterfront trails and local communities.

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