September 1, 2015

Welcome to Nellie’s Schoolhouse, a wonderful place for children with autism, depression and anxiety to make connections with dogs, learn how to greet, feed, walk, groom them and most importantly, enjoy their love and companionship. An increased amount of “evidence”, both scientific and anecdotal, has accrued over this past decade which demonstrates the power of dogs to help children grow in independence and self confidence while learning a sense of responsibility and empathy. Below is a description of one of those scientific studies. Please let me know your thoughts and send me any studies/stories that you have of children with specific challenges who benefit from our canine friends.

In Rachel McPherson’s book, Every Dog Has A Gift, she writes of a boy with autism named Milo and his transforming relationship with a dog. Milo had attended many schools over the years during his early childhood until his mother, Claire, decided that Milo needed a service dog to help him navigate his day. Milo had developed an affinity for animals in preschool, so it seemed like a perfect next step for him and his family. Claire applied for a service dog from Oregon, and after waiting for eighteen months, Chad arrived. “From the moment Chad and Milo got together, Claire has been amazed at the positive changes in her son that have taken place. And they keep getting better. Milo has been more talkative, which is a huge difference. In fact, he’s downright chatty. He loves telling me all kinds of anecdotes, and he does it with a smile on his face.”

The transforming power of dogs…do you have any stories?


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