At Highland Canine Training, LLC our Assistance Dogs for Autism live at our facility during their training. Kaiser, a black Labrador service dog, was a family pet that stayed with us for about 4 months while he was being trained. His family missed him very much but the Highland Staff grew to love Kaiser for his personality and his hard work. During Kaiser’s training we would post his pictures and his progress on Facebook. Many of our fans looked forward to seeing his picture, hearing about his progress, and they too grew to love him.
Kaiser was delivered to his family at the end of July. The staff spent 5 days being a part of the family and transitioning Kaiser back into his home as a service dog. We have continued to work with the family to guarantee Kaisers success with Kevin, and we will work with each Autism Assistance Dog family for the working life of the dog. So, we frequently talk with the family to get updates … below you can read how things are going with Kaiser
August 7th – 5 days after Kaiser was delivered
Guess what?!?!?!? Kevin made it from 9:30-6:10 a.m. last night in bed with Kaiser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve been celebrating all day!! Kevin was quite proud of himself too. He fell asleep around 9, I snuck out around 9:15, but he woke up around 9:25. Instead of bolting out of his bed, he stayed in bed and called for me to come to him. This, alone, was huge progress!!! I came in and he fell back to sleep immediately and stayed that way until I had to wake him for school. Kevin hates to wake up, but likes it when I ask Kaiser to “touch” him over and over. Seems to get Kevin to wake up and get out of bed with a smile!
Hope you are well. Say hi to Jason, and please be sure to tell him we’ve had a major sleeping victory!!!!!
August 12 – 10 days after Kaiser was delivered
Kevin has now completed 3 nights without getting up to leave his room–including last night! This is a dream come true:-)
August 18th – 16 days after Kaiser was delivered
The boys are both improving on their sleep. Kevin has a new chart in his room with train stickers. He earns one every night he does not come into my room. So far, he has three (we started 4 nights ago!). I am very proud of him as he is doing much better. Stephen, not to be outdone, has his own chart, and he earns a sticker for falling asleep in his own bed without mommy or daddy. He’s doing well too. Once they get 7 stickers, they have money to spend at the train store. The excitement is mounting!
We are leaving for Perry, GA on Thurs. at 3 pm to attend Kevin’s Special Olympics Horse show.
PS: Kaiser had the ultimate challenge this past week–a trip to Target, immediately followed by a stop at PetSmart (lots and lots of pets as it was adoption day), immediately followed by a trip to Whole Foods (we discovered that he likes the cheese dept. a LOT–it is very smelly). Poor dog, I think we tortured him! However, he did very well under distractions with animals, people and smells. Really could not have been any better. I am very impressed with him! Kevin did great too!
August 30th – 16 days after Kaiser was delivered 8/30
Hope you are well! As we speak, Kevin is sitting at the table watching the video of when you all arrived. He says”I want Ms. Bobbie and Mr. Jason to come back–SOON”.
Kaiser is doing great! Here’s a summary of what’s going on.
Last week we had our first traveling experience with Kaiser. We went by car about 3 hours from home to Perry, GA for the Special Olympics Equestrian Show. We had reservations at a hotel that does not allow pets. In order to attempt to avoid conflict on our arrival Jerry went in alone and got our room keys. He then came out to the car to get the rest of us. He was walking with Kevin and Kaiser. The lady at the desk completely freaked out and told us that there was no way we were coming in there with our dog. She was pointing to the “No Pets” sign. I calmly presented her with Kaiser’s service dog documentation that you provided us and gave her the page with the Federal Laws on it. Meanwhile, in order that Kevin not witness a scene, Jerry, Kevin, Kaiser and Stephen went straight to our room. I stayed to resolve the conflict. After seeing the paperwork and making copies of it for her manager, the desk clerk informed me that we could stay, but that we had to use the side entrance only and by no means was Kaiser going to be allowed in the breakfast area. I told her that was a violation of the Federal Law which allows access to these areas. She responded that the hotel was not subject to those Laws and besides “no one wants to see your dog while they are eating”. Nice. I told her that if she had any further questions she was free to call the sheriff’s office, and I went to my room. About a half an hour later, the phone in my room rang. It was the desk clerk. She apologized profusely and told me that Kaiser was most welcome and could be anywhere in the hotel. The next day the manager herself apologized as well. Problem solved:-)
Kaiser himself behaved like a gentleman everywhere we went. He was calm and well-behaved around the horses and other dogs at the Horse Show. He helped Kevin sleep and was perfect in the hotel room. Usually, sleeping in a hotel room is not a good thing for Kevin. With Kaiser he simply closed his eyes and went to sleep!! On the first night, Jerry was awoken to the sound of Kaiser vomiting, and he quickly got him away from the hotel bedding and the carpet and got him to aim right in the middle of his doggie bed. It was fun cleaning it up, but at least we didn’t have to pay for any damages to the hotel! We think Kaiser might have been just a bit car-sick from the long ride. He was fine after that.
On our first trip into the barn, we took our eyes off of him for one second. Guess what he found? Yup. Horse poop. His favorite! Jerry had to pick it out of his mouth with his hands. About five minutes after that, we were introduced to Kevin’s teammates’ parents. Since Jerry had not yet had a chance to wash his hands, he had to explain and politely decline to shake hands with them. Everyone was busting out laughing. What a way to meet the team!
We ate out at several restaurants. Kaiser seems to get that it is no place to “act like a dog”. He pretty much glues himself to one spot for the entire meal and does not even attempt to grab crumbs. Amazing.
On our way home, we stopped at a very formal Catholic church for Mass. We’re talking stained glass windows, marble floors and lots and lots of incense. Kaiser just stayed put and was a great service dog. He would perk up every time we changed position, confirm that he didn’t have to do anything, and then put his sweet little head back on the marble floor. The only way anyone would know he was there was by the occasional tinkling of his collar or leash against the marble.
In other good news, Kevin is doing even better with sleeping. Since we returned on Sunday night, we’ve been leaving Kevin and Kaiser in the bed by themselves, while one of us lays on the floor out of sight. Kevin will voice-check us from time to time to make sure he’s not alone, but this is a big step from having us lay across the foot of the bed with his feet tucked under us. Eventually, we will keep moving farther and farther out of the room until we are not in the room while he falls asleep any more. In addition, Kevin has now made it 6 nights without coming into our room. 3 out of the last 4 nights!!! Woohoo!!! The dog and the train sticker system is definitely working well. We are almost where we want to be with sleeping.
We have run into a road-bump with Kevin’s Sunday school class at church. He is in a class with all of his friends from last year. We missed the first class last week because of Special Olympics, and I guess they gave the class the heads-up that Kaiser was coming with Kevin this Sunday. Well, apparently a boy with severe dog allergies has now come forward. We were notified by the church this week that Kaiser cannot come to class because of the concerns for this boy. We are so crushed because we were looking forward to the social benefits in a non-threatening and familiar setting. We also wanted to use it as a testing ground to see if Kaiser could help Kevin at school. The church is working with us, and may create a new class just for Kevin and Kaiser so we can still bring him. We were firm with the church that Kevin and Kaiser are a team and that we need to find a solution where they both can come. Jeanne, his music teacher that you met, is the one trying to make something work. I’m sure she’ll figure out something. We checked the law (not that we were going to make a big stink at our place of worship) and churches are not subject to Federal Law on service dog access. Interesting. Very hard to know what to do when put into a situation where one child’s needs are in conflict with another’s. Stay tuned.
As you can see from the update about Kaiser the family is working very hard to incorporate him into Kevin’s life and they are using Kaiser to his fullest potential. Kaiser is also amazing with trailing, this will be used if Kevin were to ever wonder away and get lost. The family has dedicated themselves to learning trailing and to practicing with Kaiser weekly. Included in all Autism Assistance Dog training is a trailing component. When we deliver the dog, we teach you the basics about trailing and how to work your dog. Having an Autism Assistance Dog is very beneficial for many families and it’s a wonderful addition to their family. But it is an addition to the family, a service dog that needs to be cared for and training maintained. We are always around to help so you don’t have to do it alone. Be looking for more updates on Kaiser and Kevin.
If you have questions about our Autism Assistance Dog Training or would like further information, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free 866.200.2207, locally at 704.728.9494