Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers Delivers Autism Service Dog to Child in Group Lake, Illinois

Autism Response Service Dog helps little boy cope with ASD challenges.

April 16 is a life-changing day for 6-year old Jason of Group Lake, Illinois, as Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers delivers his Autism Service Dog “Sage.”   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 Jason—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.

Sage, 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.  Sage will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Jason and his mother Eleni, at their home in Group Lake.

Jason loves to play in water—whether in his bath, or a pool or just a sink full of water will make him happy.  Sage will love these activities too, but her primary job will be to help Jason cope with the daily challenges associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  “Jason is non-verbal, and has pica disorder (an eating disorder), and bedtime is a challenge for him, too” states his mom, Eleni. “Jason has a very hard time falling asleep and then it is difficult to wake him in the morning,” says Eleni.

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 better sleep patterns, exhibited greater communication and social interaction, and had less frustration when around their service dog.”  Autism service dogs are also trained to redirect away from repetitive and sometimes harmful behaviors such as pica disorder.

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 Sage, Jason and his mom 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 Sage is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, she will be able to accompany Jason everywhere—from restaurants to shopping to eventually going to school with him every day.

Sage will continue to work with the SDWR trainers and with Jason and his mom in their home to learn new skills to assist Jason as well as to achieve public access certification.  Certification must be achieved by Sage and her handler—in this case, Eleni.  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


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