by Good Dog! Cade and Charlie's Mom Amanda
We’ve had our Good Dog! Charlie home with us for exactly three weeks today. She has adjusted amazingly and each day I feel such gratitude for what the entire Good Dog! team has does for our family. These dogs are incredible and to see the genuine life changing presence Charlie has brought in to our home makes me want to share our unique experience. The first week home we dove head first into activities, which helped with my confidence as her benevolent leader. The first two weeks we went on lots of grocery shopping, movies, and even church outings. But we hadn’t taken her out for an entire “working” day until this past Friday.
It's hard to bring a weighted blanket or a squeeze machine with you everywhere you go, but an Autism Service Dog can serve the same purpose & they carry their own weight.
Did you know that autism service dogs have been scientifically proven to lower stress hormones in some kids with autism? This can result in a child being more calm, focused and regulated!
In addition, tethering can help a child with autism focus on the task at hand by offering them a reminder of where they are in relation to their environment. In other words, if the child focuses elsewhere & starts to wander, the tether system helps them refocus and stay on task.
We have a group of commands we call "companion commands". These commands are used to help develop the bond between child and dog as well as serve as tools to help a child with autism related with their peers. Because who doesn't love a dog with a few tricks up their ... ummm ... paw?
Did you know that having a dog sleep on the bed can help a child with autism sleep through the night? The dogs presence helps the child know where their body is in space and that helps them feel safe. Many children are able to sleep through the night in their own bed for the first time ever when they get their Good Dog!
Often when a child gets an autism service dog it's their first opportunity to care for another being. This added responsibility can be both exciting and motivating!! Sometimes it takes a while, but eventually most of our kids take on the responsibility of brushing both teeth and fur, feeding and bathing their best friend.
Autism Service Dogs can be a bridge to Independence for our kids! Here Good Dog! Dude accompanies Alex at Disneyland & on the bus! Go Dude!
It's Autism Awareness Month! Why not HUG someone with autism ... or let them hug you. ❤️ Some of our kids want to be the one in control when touching or hugging. Our Hug command gives kids the opportunity to get the sensory input they seek on their terms.
We encourage you to:
1. Be aware : take time to learn something you didn't already know about autism.
2. Take action : help a family, volunteer or donate to an autism organization.
3. Be accepting : make a pledge to be loving and accepting to all people, especially those who may act or behave differently. And if you need a role model for this last one… just look to our furry canine friends!
As summer time swiftly approaches, we are amidst graduation season; this year Good Dog! participated in the festivities!
On May 30th, Good Dog! Autism Companions held its inaugural graduation at National University in San Diego, CA. We were very fortunate to have been joined by past and present Good Dog! families who came to show their support for our three graduating teams.
At Good Dog! we love a good event! As part of our community outreach program we attend events to expose the kids to the unconditional love of the dog. Seeing the kids with the dogs is truly magical and why we anticipate these events with great excitement! Our annual trio include:
• The San Diego Race for Autism March 22
• Bocce Tournament and Family Festival for Autism June 7
• The TACA picnic June 8
The San Diego Walk for Autism was a huge sucess this year, see our previous post for more about that one!