Meet Smiley, the golden retriever who's bringing joy to kids and adults in Stouffville, Ontario.
Smiley, now 12 years old, was born with a condition related to dwarfism that left him without eyes, as well as physical disproportions. His eye sockets were sown shut to prevent infection, resulting in the dog appearing as if he's "smiling" at all times, the Huffington Post reported.
The dog is working with St. John’s Ambulance in the York Region of Ontario. He's been trained to become an adaptive, versatile therapy dog, with much of his work involving children.
Smiley spends time at funerals with children who've experienced a loss of a family member; sits with kids with autism at the library who have difficulty reading; visits special education classrooms; and spends time with the elderly at nursing homes to comfort them.
"These kids who were born with different disabilities are able to see that dogs, too, are born with the same disabilities," George, the dog's trainer, told the Huffington Post. "It’s important for them to see that Smiley has overcome, and that he’s happy."
Read more about this amazing dog in the Huffington Post.
Autism Speaks provides a list of local service dog organizations in our online Resource Guide. Look under the category “Services” at the bottom of the page. You can also use this guide to find many other services, therapy providers, support groups, school information, local autism organizations, and much more.
Other Service Dog Organizations
- North Star Dogs: http://www.northstardogs.com/autism.shtml
- Blessings Unleashed: http://blessingsunleashed.org/
- 4 Paws for Ability: www.4pawsforability.org
- Guiding Eyes for the Blind – Heeling Autism: http://guidingeyesfortheblind.org/prospective-students/children-with-autism/ (Ask for Caroline Sandler in the Heeling Autism program)
- Custom Canines: http://www.customcanines.org/services/autism-service-dogs
- Canine Companions for Independence: http://caninecompanions.org
In addition, you can search these directories of service dog trainers to see if you can find one to work with your dog:
Do you live in Canada? Follow Autism Speaks Canada on Facebook for more helpful links and resources!