A 7-year-old Boy in York, Maine named Jackson received a very special delivery of his very own Autism Service Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, also known as “SDWR.”
Press Release, York, ME, August 08, 2018 – Jackson, a 7-year old boy living in York, Maine, received a very special delivery of his very own Autism Service Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers to help assist him and better communicate his needs on the spectrum. 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 Jackson – Autism Spectrum Disorder. SDWR has hundreds of service dogs working across the US and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving approximately 1,000 families.
Poppy, a labrador 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 skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at their facility in Virginia. Jackson is non-verbal and was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD at the age of 2-and-a-half-years-old. Jackson has severe autism and communicates with an AAC device because he is nonverbal. In two separate cases Jackson managed to elope out of the house and his family now has gates and alarms on the doors. The fear of Jackson wandering is a very important issue for his family. They are hoping a service dog will act as a guardian for Jackson and be a second set of eyes.
Jackson’s biggest challenges are communication (or lack thereof), eating, meltdowns, and elopement. Jackson’s family is hopeful that with the arrival of Poppy it will help keep him safe in addition in helping keep him calm. Jackson’s parents believe a service dog would help them with redirecting Jackson’s behaviors during the meltdowns, and act as a safety net for elopement and wandering. Poppy will assist in reducing the effects each diagnosis has on the family’s independence and daily life by working continuously with Jackson. Since Poppy is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Jackson and his family everywhere – from restaurants, to grocery stores, and even to school.
SDWR’s unique training program is what sets them apart from other non-profit service dog organizations. SDWR trainers will continue to return for training sessions with Jackson, his family, and Poppy every 3-4 months over the course of the next 18 months to continue working on Poppy’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, https://www.sdwr.org. To learn more about Autism Service Dogs go to https://www.sdwr.org/service-dogs/autism/. To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit https://www.sdwr.org/volunteer-opportunities/.