We purchased our golden retriever from a dog breeder in Katy, Texas. His name is Pistol. Pistol could not be a show dog because he had a black birthmark.
Pistol was a little over 1 when my husband took him to Wilderwood Service Dogs in Tennessee for training. They train service dogs for people with autism. At the time, we didn't know that it wasn't recommended to use your own dog as a service dog. We had to talk Wilderwood into taking Pistol.
It was hard to leave our puppy with people we didn't know. And so far away from home! Pistol was in training for 7 months. We missed him so much! (I think that is why they don't recommend using your own dog.)
Pistol was trained to interrupt our son from unwanted behaviors. For example, making loud noises or picking his lips. Pistol was also trained to keep our son safe. He will pull on the tether to keep him from danger, like walking into traffic.
Our son looks typical. So people in public don't understand why our son is having a meltdown. But with Pistol by his side, people are more accepting. We are thankful for all Pistol has brought to our family.
Service Dog Definition and Resources
A service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability. Emotional support, comfort, and therapy dogs are not service animals.
A service animal can assist a person with disabilities in many ways. But it’s important to do research and understand the laws before getting a service dog. Here are some good resources:
Check out these other great blog articles about service dogs.
It's important for parents of children with disabilities to have Extended School Year plans for their child on their radar months before school ever gets out.
This article discusses the emotions and coping mechanisms that go along with having a child with a life-threatening disease that is very complex and confusing.