To rescue, train, and place service dogs (“Pawsitivity Dogs”) for individuals with disabilities, focusing on children with autism. Sometimes a dog is not appropriate for a child, and then we train the dog for an adult (either a civilian or veteran) with other disabilities.
Pawsitivity’s vision is to provide the highest-quality trained assistance dogs for families and teachers in need with highly individualized lifetime support for each dog/handler team.
For autism, for instance, the family of a child with autism uses the service dog as a “tool” to help them with their child, and a Pawsitivity service dog is very helpful to them in this regard. Having a child with special needs is challenging, and in addition to all the standard child-rearing tasks, this parents of a special-needs child must expend extra physical, emotional, and psychological energy while caring for their child; they spends more time visiting doctors; and they often has the added frustration of seeing their child feel isolated by his or her disability. The parents use the service dog to help their child reduce anxiety and related behaviors (spinning, jumping, making noises, etc.), assist with self-soothing, positively influence socially appropriate behaviors, teach empathy, and provide a social bridge so the child gets more social interaction.
Service dogs provide significant assistance to the person with a disability, but also benefit the larger community. A service dog provides freedom and flexibility. The family, in turn, is able to be more productive and self-sufficient in their personal and professional lives. If the dog goes to a child, the service dog has the ability to go to school with the child, and thus other students are positively affected by having a dog around. This, in turn, is an asset to the teachers, aides, or other professionals, who are able to use the service dog as a tool to help calm children in the classroom, provide a bridge for socialization, and perhaps even offer time with the dog as a reward for good behavior. Extended families are also positively impacted. As the person reaps rewards from the service dog, ripple effects can be felt from their immediate family to their extended family, to their community, and beyond.