Friday 17 July 2015

The Adventures Of An Autism Assistance Dog

Our Family has had the extraordinary gift of receiving an "Autism Assistance Dog Guide" from the Lions Foundation of Canada.

Why A dog guide you ask?

What can a dog like this do for us?

Where can we go with our dog?

Where can you get more information?

Individuals with Autism usually experience many barriers in life. 

People don't understand the impact autism has on the family as a whole.

Often times we don't go to certain places because we know it may be too loud, too crowded, too hot, too cold, unsafe (some families have kids who bolt or are unaware of stranger danger) Another big unknown changes, something may not go as planned and set off a meltdown. The list of reasons is extensive, and although we don't face all these issues, some are definitely a big deal.

There is a multitude of challenges kids and adults with autism may face, It is a spectrum, after all, no two children are the same even within the same family. I love what the doctor told me "If you have met one child with Autism, you have met one child with Autism."

So our journey to apply for an Autism Assistance dog began early on after the diagnosis.
I was searching for answers and ideas on how best to support our child when I came across Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. I was intrigued and after much consideration and prayer decided to apply.

We got a call back the same week and within two weeks, and a gentleman came to our house to do an assessment/ home visit.

Then we needed to wait to see if we qualified. Two more weeks went by of anxious waiting until one morning we received a call telling us that we did indeed qualify.

The wait lists are quite long, so we patiently waited for the 1 1/2 to 2 years and got the call to come in for training!

I attended 10 days of very intensive training to finally graduate and take our doggy home with us. We have had him for just over a month now.

So what does our dog do for us?

Number one he is a best friend, He loves unconditionally, he is faithful, he is attentive and he is fun!
He provides a calming presence when stress and anxiety become too much.
He is a source of pride.
He helps facilitate conversations and also gets our family out in the community!

These are just a few things this wonderful dog does for our family!

Where can we go with the Guide dog?
almost everywhere!

A few of the places we have been in the last month are, an air plane, movies, grocery stores, pet stores, restaurants, library, and doctors offices, where ever we go our dog comes with us!

In a little over a month, we already see so many wonderful benefits to having this fabulous pooch in our lives, he is such a blessing!

If you have any more questions about our journey I would love to speak to you or direct you to the appropriate person who can answer your questions.

To get more information you can visit:

Here is just a little more about the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides taken from their website:

In the early 1980's Lions Clubs across Canada sought to develop a national project to reflect their service to Canadians with visual impairments. The result was Lions Foundation of Canada and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, which was established in 1985. Since then the Foundation has grown to include additional Dog Guide programs: 
Hearing EarServiceSeizure ResponseAutism Assistance, and newly introduced, Diabetic Alert Dog Guides. 

Lions Foundation of Canada's mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost. To do this, the Foundation operates Dog Guides Canada, a preeminent national training school and charity that assists individuals with disabilities through specialized Dog Guide programs. These Dog Guides are provided at no cost to eligible Canadians from coast to coast despite costing $25,000 to train and place. The Foundation relies on donations from individuals, service clubs, foundations, and corporations and does not receive any government funding. 

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