Good Dog! Service Canines
Disabled Services Clubs, Community & Nonprofit Organizations Animal Support Services
With the same heart and spirit that grew Good Dog! Autism Companions into a positive force for change,
we now serve a wider community of those in need through
Good Dog! Service Canines.
The Story Behind our Expansion
IN 2010 ... a family got a service dog for their autistic son and their lives changed dramatically. Soon after the two-year old dog arrived home, they realized he was not just everything they’d hoped for — Orbit the Dog was so much more! From the family’s perspective, struggling inside the world of autism, the heretofore unknown benefits of a service dog became the best secret they’d ever discovered. They knew in their hearts that this was a calling. They envisioned an autism service dog organization run by an autism family who fully understood what other autistic families were going through and could provide accordingly. They had no dog training skills, had never run a non-profit, and needed to quit existing jobs to follow this dream. But they did it. Why? Because it was a needed service and they thought, “if not us, then who?” Led by their hearts, the strategies became clear: in 2011 Good Dog! Autism Companions was born.
IN 2020 ... nine years later, with 50 trained service dogs successfully placed both with families and facility professionals across America — and a community of the most caring supporters who we call “our pack” — our hearts are overflowing. We’ve listened, we’ve learned, we’ve adapted. We understand that to do things right in this field certain requirements must be met: more patience, more empathy, more authenticity, and more refined logic. These skills are now foundational teachings for every new parent handler at Team Training Week. But of all this newfound knowledge gleaned via Good Dog!, we follow one indisputable tenet: we do what’s in our hearts — always — because that’s how we meet others longing for the same beat.
In our work with autistic families the Good Dog! team listens to hundreds of variations on the same story — the difficulty of dealing with the challenges of this disorder. Often we see their broken hearts hiding in plain sight. What our Good Dog! team sees in these moments, however, is opportunity. We know we can bring about joy and hopefulness — positive life-enhancing changes — because we know what our canine heroes can do. This work fills our own hearts with joy as well as the hearts of our working dogs. We love our jobs!
As word got out about Good Dogs we started getting inquiries from many families whose children had different diagnoses. A second calling became obvious, so again we listened to our hearts. Over the past two years, we’ve accepted a few of these special needs families into our program as trials. These families assimilated wonderfully into many of our existing protocols with adjustments; and they’re now at home living better lives with their Good Dogs. There’s been an overwhelming response from these greater special needs families towards getting Good Dogs! Our hearts are yet more full.