Why Kids Need Pets
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Assistance Dog Resources for Kids With Autism
By: Barbara Denzer. Posted: Jun, 29, 2013

Note: This resource list is a follow up to one of my blog postings “Dogs Give Autistic Children Freedom and Independence” - posted in June 2013 - which told about Clive, a dog trained by the Irish Guide Dogs (Dublin, IR) - and his companion Murray, an autistic boy. You can learn more about their story at AssistDogAutism.blogspot.com 

There are also a lot of resources in the United States for assistance dogs for Autism, let’s get the world out! Refer them to your friends with Autistic children and remind them to check them out very carefully to make sure their needs match those of the organization.

Assistance Dogs for Autism is located in Harmony, North Carolina. http://autismassistancedog.com/  They have an informative, well organized website will all the information you might need.

A Paws For Ability http://4pawsforability.org/autism-assistance-dog/ is in Xenia, Ohio. They also train dogs for children with other disabilities and for Veterans.  Their website is also a robust information center about their services.

Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions http://pawsitivesolutions.org/  in Northern California has first hand experience with the dramatic improvement that assistance dogs provide to the lives of children with special needs.  You can visit their website and monitor the progress of Hank, Bodie and Cooper as well as 5 other service dogs in training.

The North Star Foundation’s primary emphasis is on finding the “optimal fit between child and dog.” http://www.northstardogs.com/autism.shtml  Located in Storrs, Connecticut. Their website recommended a book: The Golden Bridge: A Guide to Assistance Dogs for Children Challenged By Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities(New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond) by Pattie Dobbs Gross, available on their site or on Amazon.

Blessings UnLeashed is located in Glasgow, Kentucky. http://www.blessingsunleashed.org/ Like all the sites they provide plenty of information about how they train the dogs and how people can start the application process for a service dog.

There are many more of these valuable service dog training organizations in different areas of the country. If you need one, research them carefully, find reviews, visit families that have a dog they’ve trained.  All of the groups are looking for support to help with the cost of food, personal care and medical care for the dogs while they are training them. Visit their websites. If you find one near your home they each have fund raisers and look for volunteers to help with finding ways to support their programs. Even if we don’t have children ourselves or don’t have an autistic child, as a country we need to support and educate our children as if each one was our own – if we want to have a thriving country in the future.

- Barbara Denzer, blogging for Why Kids Needs Pets

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