Our journey began two and a half years ago when we applied for a service dog from Susquehanna Service Dogs for our son, Luke. Luke has Asperger's syndrome and life can be a challenge for him. He is easily agitated by his environment, whether it is sights, sounds or just circumstances. He can be physically and verbally agressive and run off with no thought of his own safety.
We were notified of our match to SSD Laurel in November of last year. We participated in team training just a few weeks ago and we officially became a working team on February 25, 2009. Our team is a threesome instead of the typcial twosome partnership. For a variety of reasons, Luke is not able to pass the public access test alone right now so I am included in the partnership.
The quality of life improvements we have seen so far have been good. Luke is sleeping much better at night with Laurel right next to him. Just a day or two after Laurel began living with us, when it was time for bed, Luke got in to bed and Laurel was with him. He looked up at me and said, "See you in the morning, Mom." I've never heard those words from him before. It is a complete turnaround from the desperation that I typically hear from him when it is time for bed. Overall, I expected Luke to be much more aware of when Laurel is with him – but what I am noticing is he most often notices when she is not with him. What I hope that this means is that she is having a calming effect on him, even if he is not yet realizing it.
Through this blog I hope to record our triumphs and trials as a team. For everyone who is raising puppies or is waiting for a service dog, I hope this blog will be encouraging to you along your journey.