by Laura Sylvester & Good Dog! Hero's Mom - Tamara
As an autism Mom, I understand the motivation in wanting an autism service dog for your child -- after all, that is how Good Dog! was born. We dream of seeing our children calm, focused and regulated. We hope that the dog will help them sleep through the night, motivate them to play, talk, engage, and encourage responsibility. We yearn for them to be connected to others, hoping the dog will serve as a social bridge and lead our child to gain a friend. BUT, the true miracle is the increased LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND CONNECTEDNESS that most people show our families when we are in public with our child and their Good Dog. If you are not an autism family you might not think that is a big deal…but believe me, it IS! Many of us get wrongly accused of poor parenting abilities by complete strangers in public. Our kids get ridiculed, teased, and threatened. In my more forgiving moments, I like to say that these perpetrators are just uncomfortable with what they don’t understand. And believe me, many of us have kids that most of the world does not understand! I have heard countless stories from our families about how having the autism service dog in public changes the way parents and children are received and treated. Below is our most recent example, shared with permission by Tamara, Hunter and Good Dog! Hero’s Mom:
“We were waiting in line at our coffee shop when the all of the regular coffee shop noises around us began bothering Hunter. He got to whining and covering his ears. This got the attention of the gentleman in front of us, who turned and looked at us, then down at Hero (I’ve noticed how Hero can take the focus off of Hunter’s disability). As I attended to Hunter, the gentleman offered to buy my coffee (decaf!) so that we could go sit down.
Without Hero, I am truly unsure if I would've received the same care from a complete stranger yesterday!”