Meet Iyal, who is now in his 20’s and attending classes at a college. Quite an accomplishment considering what he faced as a child. At a young age it became clear that Iyal’s development was drastically behind his sister’s. Iyal was overwhelmed by the smallest tasks. Unable to focus, challenged by bizarre behaviors, Iyal’s hyperactive mind and constant need for attention could not easily be quelled. At the age of four, a diagnosis is given: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a life-long disability. Though the diagnosis offers a name, the treatment is difficult to define and interventions fail year after year. Iyal’s internal struggle and explosive rages create a heightened state of alert for all in the home. In 2009, desperate to alleviate Iyal’s anguish and the crushing toll on the family, his mom Donnie, comes up with an innovative, untested, four-pawed solution: a golden retriever service dog named Chancer. Chancer is specially trained to give Iyal a unique love he desperately needs. Chancer was trained to do many of the same tasks as an Autism Assistance Dog including: calming sensory overload, soothing emotional dysregulation and using behavior disruption to keep Iyal safe. Quinn, Chancer’s successor, is also an FASD Assistance Dog. It took eight paws over ten years and fur-covered love to bring Iyal to live on a college campus. His mom, Donnie, wrote a memoir that takes you on an emotional, humorous and inspiring journey that you won’t soon forget. We highly recommend CHANCER – How One Good Boy Saved Another. To order the book you can you can CLICK HERE.
Meet Ollie my golden retriever who has been my Service Dog partner since 2016. In 1993, I had a brain stem stroke as the result of a chiropractic adjustment. I'm a full-time wheelchair user and my speech is impaired. I have let-sided weakness so he retrieves almost everything from my left side and many things from my right. He's become very good at retrieving papers, books, and my phone which I'm dropping all the time. I teach Peace Studies and Political Science at a University. Ollie accompanies me in recreational and professional activities including travel.
Tansy is my third service dog trained through CCI. We left our two week team training class ( where we learn the 40+ commands the dog already knows, are matched with the best dog for us, learn canine learning theory, canine health, the ADA and much more ) joined at the heart. It took me awhile to apply for a successor dog after losing my previous SD, Klintworth, to kidney cancer. He had been at my side for ten years, then retired for two.In addition to helping me dress, undress, helping with laundry, picking up the house, go shopping, picking up the bags that I drop, opening and closing doors and drawers, and even helping me towel off after I shower, Tansy gives me independence with dignity. She also gives me freedom, inspires me to do more, and live life instead of life living me!I am usually in a wheelchair ( to date I’ve had 44 major surgeries and all but 5 vertebrae in my spine are fused ) and Tansy’s help is a life changer! She also alerts when I need help, as that is the only time you will hear her bark. I cannot tell you how many times that bark has saved me in the relatively short time we've been together.Service dogs have an amazing impact on the family of their handler as well. My husband and son are no longer worried about me going out on my own or being home alone. Klintworth saved so much time, pain, and frustration for me, we went to college together, earned a 4.0 and were voted president of PTK, the honor society for two year colleges. Service dogs don’t just help us—they change [...]