A sixteen year old boy named Joshua in Pittsford, New York, receives a highly trained Autism Service Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.

Press Release updated: Oct 19, 2017 19:00 EDT

A sixteen-year-old boy named Joshua in Pittsford, New York, received an exciting delivery today from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. A highly trained Autism Service Dog named Audra was delivered to the teenage boy. Based in Madison, Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, or “SDWR,” 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 Joshua—Autism Spectrum Disorder. SDWR has over 500 service dogs working across the US and around the globe. SDWR is currently serving nearly 1,000 families.

Audra, a golden retriever Autism Service Dog, has already received thousands of hours of training through SDWR’s service dog in training raiser program where volunteers raise puppies in training for about a period of one year. The dogs and raisers must follow through the foundation and skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at the facility in Virginia.

Joshua was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at 18 months old. He also carries a diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic disorder that limits normal cognitive development. Because of this diagnosis, Joshua is non-verbal and experiences sensory overload and social anxiety. “Josh needs companionship, he needs to have someone sleep with him. [A service dog will] help keep Josh from walking out of sight and not being able to find him because he doesn’t respond when called,” says Joshua’s father, Robert. Audra will work with Joshua to help keep him calm in situations where Joshua may be around crowds and noise.

Josh needs companionship, he needs to have someone sleep with him. [A service dog will] help keep Josh from walking out of sight and not being able to find him because he doesn’t respond when called.

Robert, Father of Service Dog Recipient

BMJ Open, a public health medical journal, recently published research on the positive evidence of the difference a service dog can make in conjunction with Autism Therapy. The study indicated that recipients of a service dog showed improved safety from self-harm and wandering, greater communication ability, and an overall calmer demeanor. SDWR trainers work directly with individuals to provide service dogs that fit each unique diagnosis.

With the arrival of Audra, Joshua will have yet another tool, a four-legged companion that has received training to assist him to live a more fulfilling life free from fear. Audra is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will be able to accompany the family everywhere—from restaurants to doctors visits to school. 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 Joshua, his parents and Audra for the next 18 months every 3-4 months to continue working on Audra’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 non-profit organization based in Madison, Virginia, and relies on donations to help the Organization in its mission, “Until the Puzzle’s Solved… There’s a dog.” To make a 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 service dog in training raiser visit http://www.sdwr.org/volunteer-opportunities/.

Source: Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers

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