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Photo credit: Carmel Mooney / Pets & Service Dog TravelingMom

Many families with children challenged by autism become prisoners in their own homes.

The sheer terror of having a child wander off in crowds, at theme parks, or in public places of any kind is so immobilizing that many families choose to stay at home rather than venture out. Understandably, the reality of a lost, injured or killed child is not worth the risk and sadly the entire family may pay the cost of not being able to travel safely.

There is hope for traveling families. An autism service dogs can offer peace of mind for children and their families by keeping a child tethered in public places and around crowds and traffic. This helps to prevent the child from running off or running in front of an automobile. Often the child is tethered to the highly trained service dog and the parent/handler holds the dog’s leash.

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Photo credit: Carmel Mooney / Pets & Service Dog TravelingMom

This usually fosters a new-found sense of independence and empowerment for the child. Just having two hands free to conduct mundane activities like paying for souvenirs or holding a purse is a new luxury for the caregivers/parents. The autism service dog can be trained to anchor to the floor, should the child suddenly bolt away from the service dog and parent/handler. In many cases, the child simply stops even trying to bolt, over time, when they realize that the dog will not allow them to go far.

There are so many wonderful things that an autism service dog can do — tethering is just one of many that can be a lifesaver for any family who loves to travel but values safety for their child with autism as the first and foremost concern.