Stella joined our family just before the start of summer after a long and difficult school year.

Our son, Nolan, really struggled without the support of his retired Autism Support Dog, Kieran, now our family pet. It came as a bit of a surprise to us actually. With years of Kieran’s faithful support, Nolan’s bolting behaviour had become basically non-existent. We had begun to think that perhaps he no longer required that level of support.

After our initial confusion, we started to take note of the other, perhaps less noticeable, benefits our Autism Support Dog provided beyond the obvious safety and companionship. When Nolan and Stella are walking together people often smile and give a wider space to allow them to pass. Nolan is less anxious around transitions, he knows Stella is his “home-base” and when he’s with her things will sort themselves out, he won’t be rushed. Instead of being a passive participant during walks Nolan is talked through each intersection and direction change because he and Stella are walking together as a team. It doesn’t much matter who is guiding them along because Stella is his constant companion.

Those seemingly small things make such a big difference to Nolan’s daily life, especially in a busy school environment. Stella provides that extra bit of assurance that gives Nolan the confidence to enter any situation.

Nolan likes his space and prefers to cuddle or show affection on his own terms. Stella is so spunky and hilarious, she reminds him often that she’s ready for snuggles anytime.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed either that Stella is the fastest dog at the park and can run like a rocket. Now that Nolan and his brother are older it has been wonderful to see them both take more responsibility for Stella’s care. She involves herself in every game of tag so they created their own special command for their games. Stella waits so patiently to hear “caw caw!!”, then it’s off like a rocket because she knows it’s time to get her boys and the giggles and hilarity ensue.

We are so thankful for the joy Stella has brought to our home. We are forever grateful for the life changing support from B.C. & Alberta Guide Dogs.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who give their time, love and support into raising and training these incredible dogs.