Personal experiences with the healing power of dogs

Two years ago while on a road trip through the Midwest, I met the most wonderful little boy with a shy smile sitting on a park bench with his dad.

At this boy’s feet lay a small collie mix dog according his young master who proudly told me his pup’s lineage.

The boy’s dad seemed pleased. He ruffled his son’s hair and gave him a over the shoulder hug.

However, the boy quickly broke free. He apparently had something very important on his mind.

“Look! Read that!”, he said excitedly yanking my shirt then pointing directly to his dog’s red tee shirt, “Read that!”

The boy’s father leaned forward to get his son’s attention, “Say please.”

“Ya, Ya Please!” he eagerly replied once again pointing to his dog’s shirt. “Read that. Read That!”

I read it out loud to him, “Please Ask Me About My Dog.”

“What’s your dog’s name?” I asked.

“My Dog!”, now the boy was happily pointing at himself.

“He’s my dog!” he added with a smidge less vigor.

It appeared that just having me ask something was enough to calm the boy’s restless spirit because the boy sat back down and bent over to gently rub the dog’s belly that rolled up willingly as his master’s hand approached.

His dad told me the dog’s real name, but I’m bad with people names, and I’m not going to make one up. Names don’t matter anyway. The pup by any name was special.

From what the boy’s dad explained, their laid back dog who really didn’t do much other than wear a tee shirt and go belly up was a miracle worker for the boy.

His son was autistic, and before getting his conversation starting dog, the boy never made an effort to communicate with anyone, even family.

I guess it’s a fact, kids and dogs are truly a match made in heaven.

If you would like to find out more about companion service dogs for children with autism or other developmental disabilities there are special trainers.

In the USA

1) North Star Dogs

They have a variety of programs, and price ranges ($200 and up) from you train under their guidance to they train with you. They will help you pick a dog at your cost.

http://www.northstardogs.com/i ndex.html

2) Autism Service Dogs of America (ASDA)

They only work with autism cases, and are much more expensive ($13,500 and up) and offer a fundraising packet for accepted applications. They completely train and assist you in getting the child and dog together.

http://www.autismservicedogsof america.com/index.html

3) All Purpose Canines

They will set you up with a trained dog for about 15,000, they offer the same services as ASDA, but they charge an application fee, and travel expenses.

http://www.allpurposecanines.c om/application.html

In Canada

National Service Dogs

At the moment they are overwhelmed with request for service dogs, but you can check the website to find new openings as they arise.

http://www.nsd.on.ca/apply.htm

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