William’s disability sees him struggle in many situations particularly in crowds, Ricky has been able to alleviate this problem, as the public make way when they see his support needs indicated by the dogs presence. Autism is not immediately apparent, having a service dog provides spontaneous offering by services/community members working in the community, ease of passage, and more choice and control of otherwise stressful situations, without the need for his carers to request special assistance, or explain support needs.
As Ricky’s presence is positive and has fitted well within the household. He has been a catalyst to exercise and outdoor play. He had also been an inspiration for William to attempt to read simple stories to his furry friend. He has been good company to William who had no social connections outside the family or paid supports. It gives William a since of pride and responsibility as he is charged with “helping” feed and care for his dog, and play doing tricks he was trained to do. Ricky has also been able to indicate to carers when Williams’s mood is changing and provides comfort when sad, or lonely. Ricky has also alerted us when William has climbed on the roof or left the property by climbing fences. Ricky has prevented MANY episodes of absconding. Ricky has also reduced William’s need to abscond due to boredom.
Ricky has tracked and located William on numerous occasions preventing the need to call in emergency services. One occasion he tracked him after climbing off the balcony in our hotel.The path William had taken was through the resort, down to the water, back up the beach and onto a building site, in the dark and in the rain. It was later found that he had been approach by a stranger and was hiding.
Ricky’s connection to William’s give us insight into William’s moods. This has been a major stress reducer in our household. If Will walks around the yard out of our sight we can ask Ricky “ where is he” and he will check in with him and alert and interact in a not intrusive playful manor, which stops us panicking and running around the house, and give William sense of independence from having his carers constantly over his shoulder.
Ricky has become a cherished member of our family, we can not thank Smartpups enough for providing our son with such a great support.