I would like to introduce you to a wonderful pair named Clive and Murray who live in Ireland. Clive is a Goldendoodle, a cross between a poodle and a retriever. He is an Autism Assistance dog for thirteen year old boy Murray.
I found this unique pair online on a fun site called Dogs in Blogs. When you go on this site, you can choose a dog in a variety of countries around the world and follow their specific blog. This site can be found at http://www.dogswithblogs.com.au/theblogslite.htm.
Only a name and a country are given and there are many to choose from. I wanted to see one from a country other than Canada. My eyes were drawn to their link magically and I have enjoyed their posts lovingly created by Murray’s mother, http://assistdogautism.blogspot.ca. The pictures tell of their adventures at school, home and out in the world around them. A recent post/video had Murray and Clive playing while on vacation in Spain. A YouTube video has Murray looking at a photo album with Clive by his side. Murray is seen engaging with Clive and his mother who is filming this happy time together. Clive appears to look at the album as Murray poses questions to him, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cDstl4yBxI.
I found a great site that outlines what a difference these dogs can do for an Autistic child and for their family life, http://www.autismsupportdogs.org/index.php. These dogs completely change lives for the better. Children can be safer, make new friends, and try new things that were formerly very challenging. The families with these dogs are finding life calmer and far less stressful. They have been allowed to travel and let their children experience life in a wonderful way. Another example is http://www.autismsupportdogs.org/testimonials-details/18%20C. CBS did a story on a boy in New York named Milo and his Autism Assistance dog Chad. The story was aired in 2010. Milo was attending Gersh Academy with Chad, http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10004845.html?tag=mncol;lst;1. It took sixteen months to train Chad and recently he was reunited with a woman who was part of his months of training. It was a happy moment for the two and four-legged!
A friend of mine yesterday returned a lab she has fostered for the Lions Club Foundation of Canada since last fall. Rupert and the Sheedy family said their goodbyes and best wishes for a bright future ahead. Graduation for these dogs I have been told, occurs after their intense 3-4 week period they spend at the facilty in Oakville. They learn skills while learning how to work together with their client.
The Sheedy Family will get to attend his Graduation after this training period. The puppies also undergo medical exams and a trainer assessment once returned back at “recall.”
I wrote about the fostering process for this family a few months ago, https://dogstwentyfourseven.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/a-gift-named-rupert. I admire the many individuals that love and train these dogs. They are a gift just like the dog is to someone special.
So many lives are positively changed with dogs. I have met many children coming to the off leash with their parents and their family pooch. Some of the kids I have had the pleasure of knowing have some special needs. There is definitely magic that happens with dogs and children. There is no pre-judgement on either side and the mood is quite often joyful. Dogs can make us laugh as they chase one other or roll in a puddle. I have a dog that likes to do a hand-stand when getting a tummy rub. This is a guaranteed smile for any one present. We know that as owners and dog lovers, canines are connectors to the young, the old, and to those in need. They are such a blessing to us all!
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