Denville, NJ, May 29, 2017 (Newswire.com) - The Memorial Day holiday will now have an extra special memory each year for five-year old Harper of Denville, NJ, as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers delivered her Autism Service Dog “Patrick” this weekend. 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 Harper—Autism Spectrum Disorder. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, “SDWR” has almost 600 service dogs working across the US and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving almost 1,000 families.
Patrick, a golden retriever Autism Service Dog, has already received thousands of hours of training 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. Patrick will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Harper and her parents, Mark and Cheryl.
Harper has a complex set of challenges in her young life. She was diagnosed with Autism and Epilepsy at the age of one. “Harper is very ‘wobbly’ and doesn’t like to hold hands,” says Harper’s mother Cheryl, “she is also non-verbal.” Though Harper has mobility challenges, her mom says that she likes to wander off as quickly as she can! Patrick’s “job” as Harper’s service dog will be to help Harper with her mobility issues as well as keep her safe. Harper’s mom Cheryl hopes that Patrick can keep Harper safe, open doors for her, help with stability issues and notify them if Harper is in trouble. These are but a few of the common challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism service dogs are trained to prevent elopement. Harper will be tethered to Patrick whenever she is out in public places and Patrick is trained to not allow Harper to move away from her parents. “It will be such a wonderful experience to just walk with Harper as her dog guides her in the right direction,” says Cheryl, “and Harper loves dogs—so I know she’ll also have a new best friend forever in Patrick!”
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 better sleep patterns, exhibited greater communication and social interaction, and had less frustration when around their service dog.” 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 Patrick, Harper and her parents will have yet another tool, a four-legged one that has received training to assist her to live a happier and more enriching life. Since Patrick is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Harper everywhere—from restaurants to shopping to eventually going to school with her every day.
Patrick will continue to work with the SDWR trainers and with Harper and her parents in their home to learn new skills to assist Harper as well as to achieve public access certification. Certification must be achieved by Patrick and his handlers—in this case, Mark and Cheryl. 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