My son has special needs. I won't go into all of his conditions here, but one of his doctors recommended to us a few years ago that he thought a dog would be very beneficial for him. Studies show that dogs help to reduce cortisol levels and the number of disruptive behavioral incidents in children with ASD.
There are even organizations, like 4 Paws for Ability that train dogs to work with kids with ASD and other special needs. I contacted a few of those organizations in late 2011 and found out that the cost for one of those dogs was OVER $20,000!!! Yes, $20,000. And I just wasn't comfortable going to the animal shelter and adopting a dog because we really need it to be such a good match and it needed to come with some basic training already in place.
And somehow, not really sure how it all came about, but one of my gym friends told me about a program with Southeastern Guide Dogs. Some times, dogs that go through the training program become available for adoption. Dogs that become available for adoption are dogs "that have not met very strict standards required to be a successful guide dog and do not meet the criteria for other professions such as Arson Detection, Narcotics Detection, etc. for an assortment of reasons. Some of these reasons may include fear of children or animals, they may be easily distracted, or they may have some medical concerns that exclude them from guide dog work."
Call me crazy, but I thought this sounded like a pretty good option for us. So I applied OVER A YEAR AGO!! Honestly, I had even forgot that I had applied until I got a call on Tuesday that they had some dogs for us to come and see!! Apparently there is a L.O.N.G wait process
WHAT???!!! I set up a time to drive down with the kids on MONDAY (they are off from school for MLK Day) and we'll get to meet the dogs (and hug some puppies) and see if we can find our VIP (very important pet). It's a strict process and they want to make sure (as do we) that it is a PERFECT match!! I'm already imagining running with my new best friend. And taking he/she to the dog park while the trio are at football/cheer leading.
Black, Chocolate or Yellow. We don't care. Boy or girl. We don't care. We just want to find a dog that is a perfect fit for our family. And I think we will.