On March 15, Paws 4 Autism arrived at the Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids located in Lee's Summit, Missouri. The event, which was designed to promote Autism Awareness, was unique in that it featured service dogs trained to help autistic children.
The dogs visited with families and were a big hit with kids and adults alike! Terri Wible, Executive Director and Cofounder of Paws 4 Autism, noted that there were even two standout moments that happened during the event. "The first was when we were trying to describe to the stylists and management just HOW the pups could help a child with autism during their cut. It was easier to SHOW the calming effects…so we put Merlin (one of our pups in training) up in the car while my daughter was getting her hair trimmed. Everyone was amazed at how calm he was sitting so high! The second was a lovely lady who stopped in as she was passing by just to find out about our dogs and the work Paws 4 Autism does. While she doesn’t have a direct connection to autism, she did know several who may be able to assist in fundraising or opening doors to possible sponsors. We are truly grateful for any assistance we can get!"
Janon Otto, CEO of Shear Madness Franchising also attended the event, and noted how impressed she was with the dogs. "I talked to the families that attended and found that one child had meltdowns that lasted 2.5 hours - but since they received one of these service dogs, their son calms down in 5 minutes! They are also now able to take this dog with them to Wal-mart and have a leisurely shopping experience, instead of rushing to avoid a meltdown by their son." Janon also noted that, "These dogs were so calm - when they wear their vests they know that they are working and they are calm. When they don't have vests on - they behave like any other dogs!"
Starting back in July of 2010, Paws 4 Austism's Mission has been to bring Autism Service Dogs and related services, including community outreach and education, service dog awareness, informational training and social skills classes, to children who demonstrate autism spectrum behaviors. Their vision is for all children on the autism spectrum and for those with spectrum behaviors to have access to specifically trained autism service and/or therapy dogs to assist with their peer interaction and improve social integration in their schools and communities. Ms. Wible also notes that, "Paws 4 Autism is 100% volunteer driven and funded by the community. Our growth is dependent upon the generosity of our Donors, Sponsors, In-Kind Partners and especially our Volunteers. If anyone is interested in finding out creative ways they can assist, including fostering puppies in training, please contact us at Paws 4 Autism!"
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