Man’s best friend needed for Autistic child

Man’s best friend needed for Autistic child

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A military family from Belmont Park have launched a fundraising campaign in hopes of getting the funds needed to pay for an autism service dog for their child.

Stay-at-home mother Alexandra Howe and her husband Leading Seaman David Howe, who works as a Marine Technician aboard HMCS Ottawa, say a professionally-trained canine companion is the perfect solution to help control some of the Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD) symptoms their four-year-old daughter Anabelle experiences.

But service dogs don’t come cheap. A dog professionally trained to combat symptoms of ASD will cost the Howe’s over $40,000.

“We hope the service dog would be able to help console her, but also be there to save her life,” says Alexandra.

ASD covers a broad range of complex disorders of brain development and can include problems with social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviours. Some of Anabelle’s other ASD symptoms include using words that don’t seem to be in context, and rocking motions. 

“We constantly need to be on our toes because one of Anabelle’s symptoms leads to her banging her head on the ground,” says Alexandra. “We also hope that in situations like this, the dog will be trained to get its body in the way of the ground and her head, to prevent her from becoming concussed.”

Autism service dogs work with parents to protect their children from the dangers of uncontrolled and unpredictable actions.

One of the most concerning symptoms is Anabelle’s desire to take off running, which a service dog could also remedy.

“She doesn’t understand the concept of danger especially when it comes to cars on the roadway; trying to go out somewhere with her can honestly be scary sometimes,” says LS Howe. “When she runs, she doesn’t respond to her name or if you tell her to stop.”

Despite the enormous cost, the two hope to have a service dog soon. The Howe’s have been in touch with retired Master Seaman Tyson King who trains service dogs for his recently established business Vancouver Island K-9 Consulting and Training Inc (VIK-9). His dogs are tested by the provincial government before being put into service and King says his training standards are higher than required by law.

To help pay for a service dog, the family have launched a Go Fund Me campaign – https://www.gofundme.com/autism-support-dogs

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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