Hard to believe I wrote this blog exactly a year ago today. This is when we started our search. After much research and reaching out to families who have a service dog, we narrowed our search and applied with one organization we absolutely fell in love with back in November. We have gone through a series of interviews and submitted applications and doctor referrals and have a face to face interview scheduled for July 20th. I have a lot of built up nerves at this point but keep trying to stay positive and calm and remind myself once you choose hope, anything is possible. If it’s meant to be, it will be.
I knew this would be a process (and should be) as bringing a Canine Companion assistance dog into your life is a major lifestyle change and commitment. I believe our family is ready for this and have a lot of hope of the good it will bring Cody. There are different types of service animals and we have applied for a skilled companion. We would attend a 2 week training to work with Cody under the guidance of Brad, Cameron and I if we move forward in the application process. We would be the primary ones who cares for the assistance dog, encourages a strong bond between Cody and the skilled companion dog, and responsible for the customized training needs of the dog. During our phone interview we identified commands that would be supportive of the benefits we are looking to achieve.
Benefits for Cody include:
- Help with Socialization – interacting with his peers and can be the social bridge between his self and others – hoping to be a bond
- Potentially incorporating his companion into his existing therapies – possibly communication benefits (adding commands to his Proloquo2go)
- Increasing independence in chores associated with his companion (feeding, walking, brushing, etc.)
- Easing Cody’s high anxiety and providing comfort especially in doctor offices and dental appointments and areas where is loud.
- Developmentally delayed – fine and gross motor skills – gain independence
- Help guide in unfamiliar public areas and help with obstacle avoidance with sensory input becomes too much
- Teaching Cody empathy or help with understanding the ability to read social signals (crying or sad) and to ask questions and push him to engage in conversation
- My husband and I often tag team when we go places due to it being too much for Cody to attend
- Help when we have family gatherings
I felt I needed to share today just to un-bottle some of my nervousness. I will keep you posted as we move through this process. I will never stop trying if I believe it will help our Cody Rivers. Read this today, “Don’t be afraid to close your eyes and dream. Don’t be nervous to open your eyes and create those dreams into realities.”