Assistance Dogs Go Beyond Friendship

Meet three exceptional dogs and read the stories of how they make a difference in the lives of their owners.

Dogs. They freely give us joy, unconditional love, and companionship. But a new lease or leash on life? You bet. People living with various disabilities now have more options, thanks to the helping paws of assistance dogs.

Cecilia and Isha
Before Cecilia met Isha, she barely spoke. Now, this 8-year-old who has autism not only communicates, but she voices emotions, too.

We had never really heard her voice before, says Cecilias mother, Heather Gibbons of Las Vegas. Her daughters vocabulary has jumped from that of an 18-month-old to a 3-year-old since they got Isha in February 2005. And its improving every day.

The 3-year-old Golden Retriever-Labrador Retriever mix has also opened social doors for Cecilia. Children are often more patient and don’t shy away from her when she’s with Isha. He goes everywhere with the family, from restaurants to hospitals. At bedtime, Isha curls up with Cecilia, always alert. Once, during a nightmare, Cecilias agitated state caused Isha to rush into Gibbons room and wake her.


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