Paws for confidence

Anxiety and autism can cause children to feel as if their lives are out of control. Things we take for granted like going to school, the park or to birthday parties can be challenging with loud noises, crowds and so many unknowns. It can be lonely.

Enter Baja and Steele. They are no ordinary dogs. These canines, who began their journey at the Dumb Friends League Buddy Center before participating in the Freedom Service Dogs training program, are as special as their human companions, Isaiah and Garrett. Take a look … err … read:

Isaiah and Baja

Five-year-old Isaiah is a smart and curious boy who is looking forward to life with Baja, his new service dog. Isaiah has autism, and Baja has been trained to help calm his anxiety, give him confidence in social situations, and most importantly, according to Isaiah, “be my friend and play with me outside.”

Garrett and Steele

Life on the Eastern Plains has made 6-year-old Garrett—who has been diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder—quite an authority on tractors! With his new service dog, Steele, at his side, Garrett is hoping to feel more comfortable in public and attend his sister’s gymnastics meets, as well as county fairs and community events.

Confidence is essential to helping kids feel accepted and succeed. With Baja and Steele by their sides, Isaiah and Garrett are bound to have many little, big and ordinary adventures to experience and share!

On average 20 dogs a year from the Dumb Friends League enter the Freedom Service Dogs program. These dogs primarily come to the League from our transfer partner PAAS Vinita.