Ocean Springs, MS, March 13, 2017 (Newswire.com) - March 12 will always be remembered as a life-changing day for 7-year old Luke of Ocean Springs, MS, when “Amigo” is delivered by Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers delivers. Based in Madison, Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers has a mission to provide specially-bred and trained dogs for adults and children with invisible disabilities like Diabetes, PTSD, Seizure Disorders, or in the case of Luke—Autism Spectrum Disorder. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, “SDWR” has over 600 service dogs working across the US and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving almost 1,000 families.
Amigo has already received thousands of hours of training as Autism service dog through SDWR’s puppy raiser training program where volunteers raise puppies in training for about a period of one year and then through the foundation and skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at the facility in Virginia. Amigo will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Luke and his parents Ryan and Mary, at their home in Ocean Springs.
Luke enjoys bouncing a ball and being outside just like every other 7 year-old boy. But, Luke also faces the daily challenges associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “We have a real problem with elopement with Luke,” states his mom Mary. “Luke is also non-verbal and sometimes does self-harm,” says Mary.
These are but a few of the common challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder. New scientific research studies into Autism therapy provide positive evidence of the difference a service dog can make. Dan Warren states, “The studies showed children experienced fewer sensory overloads, ‘meltdowns,’ smiled more frequently, and had less frustration when around their service dog.” Autism service dogs are also trained to redirect away from repetitive and sometimes harmful behaviors as well as prevent elopement. Luke will be tethered to his dog, Amigo, whenever he is out in public places and the service dog is trained to not allow
Luke to move away from his parents.
One of the main goals when training an Autism service dog is the need to keep a child safe and calm. According to Mr. Warren, “the studies further found that safety aspect was a huge relief for families as parents’ anxiety over their child can lead to social isolation.”
With the arrival of Amigo, Luke and his parents will have yet another tool, a four-legged one that has received training to assist him to live a happier and more enriching life. Since Amigo is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Luke everywhere—from restaurants to shopping to going to school with Luke every day.
Amigo will continue to work with the SDWR trainers and with Luke and his parents in their home to learn new skills to assist Luke as well as to achieve public access certification. Certification must be achieved by Luke and his handler—in this case, his parents. Dan Warren is quick to point out that, “all the incredible services these dogs can provide are through progression, hard work and dedication of the organization and the family who must work together to build on training foundations and fundamentals. This is about an 18-month program for follow up and customization training.”
What sets SDWR apart from other non-profit service dog organizations are the customized training methods and SDWR matches dogs to their “person.” According to Dan Warren, “that important bonding time between dog and person can begin to happen right away. For nearly a decade we’ve been utilizing this method of dog placement and we’ve achieved amazing results.”
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is a non-profit organization based in Madison, Virginia, and relies on donations to help the Organization in its mission, “Until there’s a cure…there’s a dog.” To make or donation or learn more about SDWR, please visit the website, http://www.sdwr.org. To learn more about Autism Service Dogs visit http://www.sdwr.org/service-dogs/autism/. To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit http://www.sdwr.org/volunteer-opportunities/ .
Source: Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers