Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers Delivers Autism Service Dog to Child in Charlestown, Indiana

Autism Response Service Dog named "Eric" will help Dwight live a happier life.

SDWR Autism Service Dog Eric

Dwight, a six-year-old boy from Charlestown, Indiana, is having a special week as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers delivered his Autism Service Dog “Eric” just yesterday. 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 Dwight — Autism Spectrum Disorder. Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, “SDWR” has almost 600 service dogs working across the U.S. and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving almost 1,000 families.

Eric, 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. Eric will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Dwight and his parents, Tiffany and Steve.

Dwight was diagnosed with autism at just three years of age. Dwight has anxiety in social situations as well as separation anxiety when he is away from his parents. He also has problems transitioning from one place to another, has problems with speech and with motor skills. These are but a few of the common challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism service dogs are trained to assist children as they face these problems.  

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 exhibited greater communication and social interaction, had less frustration and anxiety 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.”   Dwight’s mother Tiffany added, “we never go out to restaurants as a family as it is just too much transitioning and anxiety for Dwight. We hope Eric can give Dwight and our entire family new adventures to share together.”

With the arrival of Eric, Dwight and his parents will have a four-legged “tool” that has received training to assist Dwight to live a happier and more enriching life. Since Eric is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Dwight everywhere — from restaurants to shopping to eventually going to school with him every day. 

Eric will continue to work with the SDWR trainers and with Dwight and his parents in their home to learn new skills to assist Dwight as well as to achieve public access certification. Certification must be achieved by Eric and his handler — in this case, Tiffany and Steve. 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 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 a donation or learn more about SDWR, please visit the website, To learn more about Autism Service Dogs visit To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit

Source: Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers