Trained Autism Service Dog to Help Five-Year-Old Child in Springfield, Oregon

An Autism Service Dog was delivered to Martin, a five-year-old in Detroit, Michigan, from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.

Leotta, a golden retriever Autism Service Dog

​​​Martin, a five-year-old in Detroit, Michigan, received a very special delivery today! An Autism Service Dog was delivered to Martin from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers to help him better communicate his needs and respond to oncoming seizures. Based in Madison, Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, or “SDWR,” has a mission to provide specially-bred and trained dogs for people with invisible disabilities like Diabetes, PTSD, Seizure Disorders, or in the case of Martin—Autism Spectrum Disorder. SDWR has nearly 600 service dogs working across the U.S. and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving nearly 1,000 families.

Leotta, a golden retriever Autism Service Dog, recently graduated from SDWR’s Service Dog Raiser Program where volunteers diligently raise puppies in training for over the course of approximately one year. Both the dogs and raisers must complete the foundation and skillset training provided through SDWR trainers at their facility in Virginia.

Leotta is also an honored graduate of the SDWR Fallen Officer Puppy Program. The Fallen Officer Puppy Program, or “FOPP,” is an initiative by SDWR to pay respect to the legacy of service by fallen American police who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Leotta is named in honor of fallen Police Officer III Noah Aaron Leotta of Montgomery County, Maryland who was struck by a drunk driver in 2015. Leotta’s Autism Service Dog work with Martin will carry on in memoriam of Officer Aaron Leotta’s life of service before self.

Martin is a brilliant and inquisitive boy, but a lot of times everything is times 10 with him. For the things that are great, it's wonderful, but for the things that aren't like dealing with frustration, impulse control, and meltdown's it can be a lot. He was also non-verbal for a while and is still not really conversational, but his family working on it.​ Leotta will assist in reducing the effects each diagnosis has on the family’s independence and daily life by continuously working with Martin.

The public health medical journal, BMJ Open, recently published research on the positive evidence of the difference a service dog can make in correlation with Autism Therapy. The study indicated that recipients of a service dog showed improved safety from self-harm and wandering, greater communication ability, and a calmer demeanor. SDWR trainers work directly with each individual to provide service dogs that fit their unique diagnosis.

Leotta’s arrival will assist Martin when he is feeling overwhelmed and prevent him from elopement issues. Since Leotta is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Martin and his family everywhere—especially where Leotta is most needed like while riding the school bus.

This training program is what sets SDWR apart from other nonprofit service dog organizations. SDWR trainers will continue to return for training sessions with Martin, his parents, and Leotta every 3-4 months over the course of the next 18 months to continue working on Leotta’s customized training, follow-up training and training the human to make a successful team and public access certification.

Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is a nonprofit 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, To learn more about Autism Service Dogs go to

Source: Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers

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