By: Katie Mattie “Changing the Lives of Families, One Dog At A Time” Wilderwood Service Dogs
Wilderwood Service Dogs • Maryville, Tennessee • Wilderwood specializes in neurological disorders. • Wilderwood has the medical staff and trainers who are equipped with a comprehensive understanding of brain disorders and are able to train service dogs with exacting skills for such diagnosis.
Diagnosis • Autism and Aspergers • Pervasive Developmental Disorders - Oppositional Defiant Disorder • Neurological Diseases - Dementia - Alzheimer’s - Parkinson’s - Huntington’s - Brain Injury • Psychological/Psychiatric Diseases • Episodic Diagnosis - Epilepsy - Meiners -Narcolepsy -Migraine
Autism and Service Dogs • Wilderwood provides service dogs especially trained to manage the symptoms of Autism, the challenges of Spectrum Disorders, and other neurological impairments. • Through the experience of the service dog mutes begin to speak, self stemming behaviors stop, the safety of the child maintained at all times, and the tired parents sleep soundly since the diagnosis. • Wilderwood truly believes that freedom lies in the love of the dog.
Autism and Service Dogs • How the Service Dogs Are Trained to Respond • Symptoms and Service Dog Responses: - Impulsive Running-Will Retrieve Child to Parent - PICA-Will Interrupt Behavior - Self Stimulation-Will Physically Interrupt Behavior - Self Harming-Will Interrupt Behavior -Mood Swings-Will Crawl Onto A Lap and Calm Child -Night Awakenings-Will Alert Parents by Barking -Non-Verbal-Enhances Verbal Skills by Using Commands -Social Isolation-Focus Shifts to Dogs
Neurological Disorders • Diseases involving the nervous system are devastating to the individual and their families. • Over time the individual losses control of their arms and legs. • Thought processes become progressively impaired as the disease advances. • The person’s safety becomes increasingly at risk related to the disease. • Symptoms: - Disorientation - Mood Swings - Forget where items are located - Forget how to do simple tasks - Forget to take medication
Neurological Disorders • Non-progressive Diseases: - Brain Damage - Stroke - Down Syndrome - Brain Tumor • Symptoms: - Balance - Confusion - Disorientation - Communication Difficulties - Physical Symptoms
Neurological Disorders • Symptoms and Service Dog Responses: - Cognitive (poor decision making, environmental safety issues)- Alert to hazards, Alert to client leaving home, Alert to night awakenings. - Perceptual (Decrease function of five senses, decrease balance)- Guide on stairs, balance, Assist with rising and sitting. - Physical (headahces, fatigue, tremors, decrease sleep)- Retrieve items, Retrieve medication, Snuggle, Lean, Deep Pressure. - Emotional/Behavior (irritability, mood swings, agression)-Snuggle, touch, companionship, increase independence, distraction.
Psychological/Psychiatric Disorders • Individuals with mood disorders such as bipolar can experience uncontrollable mood swings. The mood swings may result in compulsive behaviors. • Medications are highly effective in treating disorders. Feelings of shame, fear, and paranoia combined with neurologically impaired mood swings and medication side effects often leave the sufferer isolated, anxious, and depressed. • Service dogs offer a unique, non-judgmental, ever present comfort and they serve as an early alert system to mood swings and emotional changes so the individual can engage in positive coping strategies.
Psychological/Psychiatric Disorders • High and persistent levels of anxiety or panic attacks can be brought on by any thing, situation or environment that the individual is sensitive to. During such episodes, the individual’s respirations and heart rate increases, they begin to sweat, their eyes begin to dilate and they may even vomit. • These disorders respond well to medication and also have a success rate with “rescue medication” which can be taken at the onset of and episode. For the individual, the constant fear of such episodes, public or private, and the uncertainty of when they may encounter a “trigger” can leave them isolated and feeling hopeless. • Service dogs can lesson the severity of these symptoms by offering a variety of calming behaviors. The consistency of the service dog also eases the fear of the unknown, because the service dog is always available to go for assist or possibly rescue medication.
Psychological/Psychiatric Disorders • Symptoms and Service Dog Responses: • Anxiety- Deep pressure, alert behavioral changes, grounding. • Mood Swings- Alert to behavior changes, distraction. • Apathy- Tactile stimulation, play, walks. • Self-Mutilation- Interrupt behavior, deep calming pressure, grounding. • Hypersomnia- Wake Handler Up. • Memory Loss- Remind medications, routine prompts, find lost items. • Social Withdrawal- Initiate interactions, routine encourager, social ice breaker.
Episodic Disorders • Episodic diseases present with symptoms that affect all areas of life. One of the most debilitating of these symptoms are the “episodes” associated with these diseases. For example: Seizures, Migraines, Fainting Spells, Falling Asleep. • The individual often does not know when the episode will occur and consequently their safety becomes jeopardized. Services dogs can re-open activities and environments to the individual.
Episodic Disorders • The goal of episodic service dogs is that through training and exposure the dog will be able to alert to impending episodes, allowing the individual to seek safety, or take rescue medication. • Safety and comfort tasks the service dog provides during and after each episode: • - Can roll the person into the “left side recovery position” after a seizure. - Go seek help for the person. - Provide grounding and comfort as the person arouses from these episodes. - Can carry the rescue medication and medical information so that others will be able to understand what is happening and be able to assist if necessary.
Foster Homes for Service Dogs • Wilderwood is looking for responsible dog lovers to foster a puppy from ages six weeks to 1 year. • Your commitment would include the following: - Raise puppy as mainly an indoor dog. - Give them lots of love and attention and socialize them in your community. - Attend a twice-monthly Wilderwood puppy class. - Provide dog food at a cost of $30/mo. This can be supplemented for low income or student fosters. - Watch them graduate to service dog and be proud of your contribution to Wilderwood and a child in need.
Adoptable Dogs • Wilderwood has adoptable dogs available who have had a career change from service dog work. • Some are older whose owners have died or gone to permanent care facilities, others are available for certain behaviors such as chasing birds or barking at the UPS man. • These are highly trained dogs and prices varies on the amount of training the canines have received. • All dogs are up-to-date on vaccines, and receive monthly flea and heartworm meds.
Information Packet • Agency Documents: - on-line form - child - Adult • Foster Handbook • Wilderwood Service Dog Contract
Information Packet • Materials to Assist Families: - Service Dog Reference Material Links: http://www.naar.org/research/research.asp Autism Speaks Autism Society of America Autism Service Dogs - Wilderwood Service Dogs Associates Animal Rescue and Fostering Networks (ARFNets)
Information Packet - Autism Articles and Websites http://www.naar.org/research/research.asp Autism Speaks Autism Society of America Bergin University of Canine Studies • Canines Protect Autistic Kids • Mother of autistic child reflects on first month with service dog • Marshall County Tribune Story: A Puppy for Brody • One Boy's Best Friend: How a Special Dog Changed an Autistic Boy's Life - CBS News story 5/16/2006. • A Miracle Dog for Reece • Training Days • Autism Books Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter's Life with Autismby Clara Claiborne Park The Siege: The First Eight Years of an Autistic Child : with an Epilogue Fifteen Years After by Clara Claiborne Park
Ways to Learn About Wilderwood • Check them out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilderwood-Service-Dogs/127059238012?ref=mf • Check them out on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=220iPYml9lc • Watch their video: http://www.wilderwood.org/autism/autism_dogs_video.html