A 4-year-old boy named Eli in Hamburg, New York, receives a highly trained Autism Service Dog from Service Dogs by SDWR.
Hamburg, NY, November 2, 2017 (Newswire.com) – Eli, a four-year-old boy from Hamburg, New York, received a very special delivery today! A highly trained Autism Service Dog was delivered to Eli from Service Dogs by SDWR to help him better communicate and respond to his needs on the spectrum. Based in Madison, Virginia, Service Dogs by SDWR, 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 Eli—Autism Spectrum Disorder. SDWR has nearly 600 service dogs working across the United States and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving nearly 1,000 families.
Winter, a golden retriever Autism Service Dog, recently graduated from SDWR’s Service Dog in Training 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.
This training program is what sets SDWR apart from other non-profit service dog organizations. SDWR trainers will continue to return for training sessions with Eli, his parents, and Winter every 3-4 months over the course of the next 18 months to continue working on Winter’s customized training, follow up training and training the human to make a successful team and public access certification. SDWR trainers work directly with each individual to provide service dogs that fit their unique diagnosis.
Winter 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 have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Winter is named in honor of fallen Deputy Sheriff Michael Arthur Winter of Branch County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan, who was thrown from his horse while on a special detail at a Memorial Day Parade. Officer Winter suffered severe head injury when something spooked his horse, causing it to buck and throw him off. He succumbed to his injuries and was taken off life support on May 31, 2016 so his organs could be donated. Winter’s Autism Service Dog work with Eli will carry on in memorial of Deputy Sheriff Michael Arthur Winter’s life of service before self.
Eli was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at 18 months old. Because of this diagnosis, Eli is nonverbal and does not recognize items which could be potentially dangerous or harmful situations. He also has a tendency to get overwhelmed with lots of people. One of Eli’s triggers is the frustration he endures when he is unable to tell those around him what he wants. Eli’s mother, Jessie, believes Winter will be able to, “Give him independence and confidence.” By continuously working with Eli on a daily basis, Winter will assist in reducing the effects each diagnosis has on the family’s independence and routine.
Winter’s arrival will assist Eli with meltdowns, getting out of the house, and finding Eli if he is lost. Since Winter is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Eli and his family everywhere—from school to the grocery store.
Service Dogs by SDWR 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, https://www.sdwr.org. To learn more about Autism Service Dogs go to https://www.sdwr.org/service-dogs/medical-service-dog-for-autism/. To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit https://www.sdwr.org/volunteers-opportunities/.