Heeling Autism Invites Dogs to Strut With Service Pups on Nov. 3

On Saturday, Nov. 3, from 1 to 3 p.m., dogs will congregate in front of the Cold Spring Firehouse to strut in support of Strut Your Dog for Heeling Autism, going down to the bottom of Main Street and winding up at St. Mary’s Church lawn. The rain date is Sunday, Nov. 4. The event is being organized by the Cold Spring Lions Club.

Children with autism, without warning, frequently bolt and disappear into a crowd. They may need to be held constantly — while shopping, in doctors’ offices, schools, parks, and on trips. Generally, there is little or no family recreation or vacation. A child on the autism spectrum receives too much or too little sensory information and is frequently frustrated while unable to express him/herself. Uncontrollable rages can occur. Comfort can be difficult.

At the Strut Your Pup event, there will be some pups dedicated to become autism service dogs. When grown and trained, these pups will not only provide companionship and assistance to a child with autism, but will increase peer acceptance and new opportunities for independence as well as an increased level of confidence for a child with autism. An autism service dog reduces parental and sibling stress, resulting in an improved quality of family life.

These service dogs are trained by the Yorktown Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an internationally respected guide dog breeder and training institution. The Heeling Autism service dogs are trained primarily to prevent a child from bolting away from either his parents or caretakers. Tethered to a Labrador or Retriever, the child becomes aware of his companion and the extended sense of self.

The concerns of the child’s safety are reduced, which allows for further education, interactions and development of the child. Not only does a Heeling Autism dog become a lifelong, dependable, comforting companion but also becomes the child’s ambassador — socializing with peers becomes possible.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides the Heeling Autism program at no charge to the families, including the dog, onsite training, and extensive at-home training.

Bring your pups and walk with families and their pups and learn more about what a Heeling Autism dog does for an autistic child. It will be a time to walk and meet a parent, her family and a service pup. Please leave aggressive dogs or dogs in heat safely at home, and use non-retractable leashes that are 6-feet long or shorter.


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