Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. has successfully placed their second Autism Assistance Dog with a young client in southern Oregon.
Yoko, a two-year-old Labrador retriever, successfully completed her Autism Assistance Dog training at Dogs for the Deaf in June 2016 and was placed with a family in Medford, Oregon. Certified Assistance Dog Trainer Jenny Nickelson spent five months with Yoko preparing her for her new life serving a young child with autism.
Yoko is making a major impact on the life of this autistic child and his family, including recent accompaniment during participation in Oregon’s summer Special Olympics. “Yoko is a loyal and unflappable companion as she supports my son. Her unwavering patience is a testament to the excellent training she received at Dogs for the Deaf,” said Maria, the child’s mother. Yoko came to Dogs for the Deaf from Dogs with Wings Assistance Dogs Society in Canada. Jenna of Rogue River, Oregon generously donated eight months of her time fostering Yoko.
Yoko is the second Dogs for the Deaf Autism Assistance Dog to be trained and placed with a Rogue Valley family. Dogs for the Deaf will place several Autism Assistance Dogs in the Medford area before expanding the program further. Currently, they are only seeking applicants in southern Oregon to participate in their Autism Assistance Dog Program.
Current data from the Centers for Disease Control states that 1 in 68 children in the United States are on the Autism spectrum. As a result, there is a tremendous need for Autism Assistance Dogs and Dogs for the Deaf is working towards meeting this ever growing need.
Dogs for the Deaf also specializes in Hearing Assistance Dogs that are trained to alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing to household sounds as well as Program Assistance Dogs that are trained to assist professionals such as teachers, counselors, and physicians. Dogs for the Deaf has been rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to become Hearing Dogs and Program Dogs with qualified clients throughout the United States for nearly forty years. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, this national organization placed 22 Assistance Dogs across the country.