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Autism Assistance Dog life-changing for Kelowna boy

Click to play video: 'Autism Assistance Dog Guide changes family’s lives' Autism Assistance Dog Guide changes family’s lives
It's become more and more popular to use guide dogs, assistance dogs and emotional support animals to navigate the world. Having an Autism assistance dog has changed a Kelowna family's life. Sydney Morton introduces us to Aadyn and his support dog Stewart. – May 21, 2022

Stewart has changed the Francoeur family forever. For nine months the Autism Assistance Dog from Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides has been Aadyn Francoeur’s best friend and support.

“Every time I get stressed he always goes right on me and just puts a smile on my face immediately after that and I don’t feel stressed anymore after that,” said Aadyn.

The family picked up Stewart in Vancouver on July 17, 2021, and ever since he has been part of the family while supporting Aadyn who has been diagnosed with Autism and Epilepsy.

“Dog Guides has made a huge difference in our everyday life with Aadyn as far as helping him go outside and go into the community and enjoy it,” said Geraldine Francoeur, Aadyn’s mother.

“The things we take for granted every day, he struggles with.”

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Stewart however isn’t Aadyn’s first autism assistance dog. A black lab named York was Aadyn’s shadow for 9 years, but he was diagnosed with cancer and died about a year and a half ago.

His death left a hole in the family. So they reached out to Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides in hopes of being paired with a new Autism Assistance Dog.

“It was a tough year and a half for many reasons,” said John Francoeur, Aadyn’s Father. “He just shrunk back into his old ways again.”

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“We started to lose him. He was quiet again he went back into his room and he would prefer the quietness instead of going out to see people,” said Geraldine.

“So when Stewart came in, it was eye-opening. He loves going out with his dog and showing off the dog.”

Stewart and Aadyn bonded immediately and have been inseparable ever since, making going out into the world and attending college classes much easier.

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It costs approximately $35,000 to breed, raise, train and place a guide dog. To continue helping families like the Fancoeurs, the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides needs to raise funds. They are doing that with a Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides event that is happening in 300 cities across Canada including communities in the Okanagan on May 29.

For more information about how you can take part or donate visit www.walkfordogguides.com

 

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