Pricy labradoodle

Kid with autism gets service dog.

Though Dante appears to be a normal, six-year-old kid, he can have “meltdowns” at any time, says Shane. It can be a seizure or panic attack, making him completely unaware of his surroundings. And because he has no concept of fear or danger, he is especially vulnerable in public.

He is fixated on the colour blue – if he sees something blue across the street, he will wander towards it with no regard to traffic.

He can vanish in a second, adds Shane. During recent trips to the Great Wolf Lodge and Pen Centre, Dante wandered off.

“We just turned around and he was gone.”

In that situation, the autism service dog is trained to keep the child still, and stand on him/her if necessary. When they sense a seizure coming on, they will sit down to catch the parents’ attention. During a seizure, they will calm the child down by diverting their attention from their surroundings.

“I never would have imagined a dog could be trained to be so smart,” says Maria. 

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