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FGB: Spotlight Autism Compilation – TEASER

Summary – Many people with disabilities find their life transformed with a service dog partner. Here is my imagined view from the dog (puppy’s) perspective.

One morning, I felt something different about him from the moment he woke. He was nervous and excited all the way through dressing me to go out. It was some sort of big day. We didn’t go anywhere, though. Instead, we went to the couch and waited. I tried my best to calm him by lying extra quietly at his feet. We both leapt up when the doorbell rang.

On the other side was a small human, not a tiny one, but more mid-sized. I knew him, he’d been one of the many I play trained with before.

“Are you ready?”

I looked to Kind Man only to realize he wasn’t speaking to me.

The boy nodded. “Yeah.”

“Okay then. She’s all yours.” Kind Man then turned to me before saying, “Bellissima, go with Alex. Be a good girl and do everything he says and you know to do.”

I still didn’t understand many of the sounds even though I’d heard them lots of times. But I knew enough and the tone of his voice told me the rest. I was to go with this boy and follow his instructions.

Kind man patted my head before he handed my string to the boy. I gave him a long look over my shoulder to be sure this is what he wanted. I neither saw nor felt any hesitation.

This is some kind of test. I must do my best. I must do my best. . . .

“C’mon girl. Let’s go.”

Those words I knew. I turned and walked away by his side and this time, I didn’t look back.

This one shot was written especially for FGB Autism Awareness fundraising compilation. Click on the logo over there on the left (under "Compilations") to go to the FGB blog to gather all the donation information. I do request that you not share fundraising compilations with those who have not made a contribution to that specific cause. This effectively denies worthy organizations of badly needed funds.

I’m not naive enough to believe that a dog partner is the panacea for all persons with an autism spectrum diagnosis, however, for those individuals for whom a dog partner is a fit, the change in problematic behaviors (such as escaping, meltdowns, and social isolation) is extraordinary. I offer these wonderful videos as just two examples: 

At this time, I do not intend to publicly post this one shot anywhere in the future, so if you want it, please make a donation before the end of April 2011.

Thank you,
p.s. if you'd like to read a few blog posts by the service dog trainer (who is dog-centric in her methods and inspired this one shot) as she was training the dog in the second video above, please click here.

[Full disclosure: Leslie will be training my successor mobility support service dog later this year. More on that in a future post.]

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