More Than a Just Walk to the Park

It’s hard to quantify the many ways Dancer helps Zander manage his symptoms of autism and live a good life, but our afternoon walk to the park showed me some ways.

Dancer and Zander are quite a pair at the park.

Dancer and Zander are quite a pair at the park.

1. Safety – Some of the safety skills Zander practices with Dancer he
learned from our first service dog,
Bree. But the learning continues.
Before we had dogs, getting Zander
to stop at a stop sign or when crossing the street was difficult. But now, the
two of them “stop, wait, go” on cue.

2. Calming – Studies have
documented how the presence of a dog lowers humans’ blood pressure. I was reminded twice this afternoon that Zander stays calm and is not set off by old behaviors triggers when we have Dancer around. First a baby cried, well, wailed and Zander wasn’t phased.
Then a toddler tried to borrow (well, swipe) his beloved toy snake. He said “no thank you,” and went back to petting Dancer.

3. Social Skills – Dancer is a kid and parent magnet at the park. Today, a dad asked if his kids could pet Dancer and gave them a great lesson in why this dog is special and how to pet a dog … nicely. Zander shared his dog, which is a huge accomplishment.

Dancer, how do we love thee? We’ll keep counting the ways.

One Response so far.

  1. Barbara Pettijohn says:

    Awww, this article warmed Grandma’s heart! Thank you for the joy your stories bring me learning all the amazing ways these babies help. Patricia, you have created miracles! What an honor to be part of this magnificent team! Love to you all!