Service dogs assist children with autism

Five-year-old Nate is always on the go.  His parents give him popcorn, and it ends up on the couch.

The mess is a side point.  After years of keeping up with their autistic son, Alison and Ted Meehan are exhausted.    

"He doesn't stop.  He does not stop," said Alison Meehan.       

The Elkton couple is transitioning to Delaware to get Nate into a more advanced school.  But in the meantime, they are raising $13,500 for a dog, one that is trained through the non-profit organization "Autism Service Dogs of America." 

They are the first Maryland couple to do so.  So far, they have about $4,500.

"They're known to calm them down.  If they need deep pressure, they can take time out and they can hug the dog or pet the dog," said Meehan.   

Starting at 8 weeks, dogs go through two years of training to help them gain independence and confidence.

"One time my older son left the front door open and he got down the street," said Meehan.    

The dogs are also a safeguard if Nate gets out on his own.

"The dog will know his scent and he'll just go find him, so it's almost like a search and rescue kind of thing," she said.    

One day soon, the Meehans hope Nate sits on the couch instead of jumps, as a dog moves in and helps with the parenting.

"I just can't wait ‘til that day because right now we live in a bubble.  We can't go anywhere," said Meehan.     

"Autism Service Dogs of America" has been training dogs for 10 years.  So far, they have helped out close to 50 families.

If you want to learn more click here .  If you want to make a donation to the Meehan family, put "Nate Meehan" in the reference line. 

 

 

           

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