Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Celebrating Service Dogs: Nathan and SSD Sylvia

In honor of National Assistance Dog Week, we're going to share stories about services dogs and the love and support they give to their partners. This is the story of Nathan and his service dog, SSD Sylvia.

Nathan and Sylvia- a Susquehanna Service Dog - have been partners now for almost 7 months. We take them to big crowded stores and malls so regularly now that we sometimes forget what our lives were like just one year ago.

The sensory sensitivity that is part of Nathan’s Asperger’s Syndrome made excursions into crowded places intolerable to the point that we simply stopped doing it. We still don’t entirely understand how and why Sylvia’s presence relieves Nathan’s anxiety and sensitivity, but it works so well that we hardly give a second thought to outings now.

For years Nathan’s grandmother wanted to send us to Disney World. Shortly after Nathan and Sylvia passed their public access test, we finally made that trip.

Nathan’s birthday is July 5th, and there we were on July 4th in one of the most crowded places on Earth. After a thoroughly enjoyable day of rides, many of which Sylvia was allowed to ride too, we watched the 4th of July fireworks from a spaceship ride high over the park.

Afterward we made our way back to our cabin though crowds and on various means of public transportation. Midnight struck while we were on a boat on the lake headed back to the campground, and the captain of the boat announced that Nathan had just turned 12. As the passengers on the boat cheered and sang for Nathan, we knew that the joy in his face would not have been possible that day without the help from his loving partner Sylvia.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great story. Sylvia is just beautiful and I'm glad she is there to help Nathan.
    It's good to know that there are people that give of themselves to do this kind of work and made it possible for Nathan and Sylvia to be together and have each other to love.