Muddy paw prints are a welcomed sight in the Daniel’s family home this spring!
Parents, Ron and Barb Daniels recently brought a male, Golden retriever, named Simba into their home to assist their son, Mitchell who has Aspergers. I could hear the happiness oozing from Barb’s voice as we spoke about the positive impact Simba has had on their family life.
Mitchell is a15 year old, talented singer and performer whose parents, Ron & Barb thought would benefit from the security and companionship of an autism service dog. During their wait for a service dog from ADS, Barb wasn’t sure what to expect from a service dog entirely, although she felt prepared ahead of time by learning from the ADS staff team at outings and wait list workshops.
Most ADS wait list families generously assist in raising funds to help support ADS. Mitchell has been an integral part of helping to fundraise for his own service dog by performing in various locations and directing the funds earned towards his service dog. During the wait time Mitchell joined his parents at the information workshops, outings and training classes and quickly became familiar with the equipment and commands he needed to use with the service dogs. In the end when they met Simba, the family was thrilled that he ended up being a perfect match for Mitchell. At times, Simba is a playful golden retriever who wants to run and play, but while on duty is a perfectly well-mannered service dog. He is an affectionate, patient, quiet dog in the home, and enjoys spending time with Mitchell and his family.
They have established a good routine with Simba coming into their home. Barb shared that Simba comes around to each of them for their morning wake up, tail wagging and full of happiness (much more pleasant than a wake up beeping from an alarm) and it makes them all smile first thing in the morning. Simba then continues his day following Mitchell around the house, and after breakfast, Simba accompanies them for Mitchell’s school drop off. Upon returning home from school in the afternoon, Mitchell feeds Simba and takes him for his daily walk which helps solidify their bond and gives Mitchell a sense of much needed responsibility caring for his own dog. Barb reports that Mitchell is “just loving him” and is gaining further independence with their walks and time spent together at home. At bed-time Simba accompanies Mitchell in bed, where they snuggle and share in a cozy moment before sleep.
Barb said Simba has not only brought comfort and companionship to Mitchell but “has brought so much joy to our family.”
Join us in reading along as we continue to share more about Mitchell and his journey with Simba in upcoming issues of our Paw Prints Newsletters. Mitchell plans to continue singing and performing in support of his service dog Simba. Thank you Mitchell!!!