10 Jan Rheegan’s Smart Pup
There are so many social events that I have had to cancel going or leave due to the anxiety my son has around social interaction and Meltdowns triggered by overstimulation.
Rheegan struggles with medical/therapy appointments and having a companion by his side would help tremendously.
Rheegan was diagnosed in November 2018 with Level 2 (Mild to Severe) Autism, he is such a sweet boy but he does have regular meltdowns or outbursts due to overstimulation and anxiety. When he is around animals majority of the time dogs he appears to be much more calm and a complete different child.
Rheegan’s anxiety has stopped him from being able to attend “little school” most weeks and has affected his ability to make friends! I am getting phone calls from day-care because Rheegan is having a major meltdown and just wants to be at home or with Mum. I believe having an assistance dog will give him the extra comfort he requires when attending day-care to help with his anxiety.
Children with autism feel safer, calmer and more understood through their bond with a Smart Pup Assistance Dog. These trusty canine companions can increase an autistic child’s ability to cope with life, ease sensory overload and provide emotional support. A Smart Pup acts as a bridge between each child and the outside world; guiding children through their daily routine, keeping them safe and comforting them when the world just gets too much.
One of the big difficulties that we are currently experiencing and have for 2 years is during the nights. If Rheegan is alone in a bed he suffers from Night Terrors to the point he is sick, uncontrollably shaking and unable to process anything. The only way for Rheegan to fall asleep at the moment is with the use of medication and have me (Mum) in the bed next to him, which is where I believe that if Rheegan was to have a companion such as an assistance dog this would majorly benefit Rheegan to sleep more comfortably and feel safe in his own room as he refuses to go into his bedroom.
Having a specially trained dog to help with daily routine and outings would be amazing for Rheegan. As there have been times where Rheegan has attempted to run away from me in shopping centres/supermarkets, having a dog trained in tethering and anchoring would minimise any risk of absconding. My biggest fear is that Rheegan will run off and not be aware of his surroundings and get hurt, not only would an assistance dog be a loving companion but it would keep him safe.
Smart pups are specifically trained in Tracking the child quickly using their sense of smell when a child has wandered off and this skill can be life saving, to disrupt particular behaviours on command, by either nuzzling or laying its head on the child’s lap or the dog will lie across the child as the pressure of the dog’s body can be soothing and calming. Also by being a calming presence to the child, medical studies confirm that kids with a dog companion feel less pressure from there surroundings which result in lower frustration and anxiety levels which is a part of Autism and this will lead to better sleeping habits which helps with a better quality of life. There are so many reasons above as to why an Autism Assistance Dog would benefit my son Rheegan greatly and there are so many more.
I would like to thank you for taking your time to read about my son and his struggles in daily life and we would be very grateful for any help you can give to us in this campaign. I completely understand that people aren’t always able to donate money but if you could please share the link to Rheegan’s campaign and spread the word about my son and also the amazing organisation Smart Pups I would be forever grateful.
Thank you all.. Much love Mariah and my special little boy Rheegan xx
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