A 6-year old boy named Lucas in Littleton, Massachusetts has received a very special delivery of his very own Autism Service Dog from SDWR to help assist him.
Lucas, a 6-year old boy living in Littleton, Massachusetts, has received a very special delivery of his very own Autism Service Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers to assist him and help better communicate his needs. 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 Lucas – Autism Spectrum Disorder. SDWR has hundreds of service dogs working across the United States and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving approximately 1,000 families.
Jiles, a labrador retriever Autism Service Dog, recently graduated from SDWR’s Service Dog Raiser Program where volunteers diligently raise young service dogs in training 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.
Jiles is also an honored graduate of the SDWR Fallen Officer Puppy Program. The Fallen Officer Puppy Program, also known as “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. Jiles is named in honor of fallen hero Lieutenant Billy Ray Jiles of Carroll County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia who was shot and killed in 2002 after responding to reports of a man attempting to set his ex-wife’s house on fire. Jiles’s work as an Autism Service Dog with Lucas will carry on in memoriam of Lieutenant Jiles’s life of service before self.
Lucas was diagnosed with with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2-years-old. Lucas’s disability affects him in his family in many ways. Lucas’s disability affects his social, cognitive, and critical thinking skills that makes it difficult for him to make and sustain friends. His disability also makes it difficult for him to attend outings with the family. Lucas’s mother, Lilia, explains, “Lucas will get overwhelmed and becomes aggressive and will bolt to flee the situation. That brings a lot anxiety to him, school staff, peers and family.” Lucas’s family is hopeful that a service dog will act as a guardian for him and help keep him safe and comfort him.
Jiles will assist in reducing the effects each diagnosis has on the family’s independence and daily life by working continuously with Lucas. Since Jiles is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Lucas and his family everywhere – from school, to doctor’s appointments, and even to church.
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 Lucas, his family, and Jiles every 3-4 months over the course of the next 18 months to continue working on Jiles’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/.