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Feathers And Fleece Dogs for Autistic People

Therapy dogs

Sheepadoodle of Feathers & Fleece Farm

Over the years, Feathers And Fleece has placed many dogs in the therapy field.
Our first was a Great Pyrenees back in the late 90s.
 We went on to place six more Great Pyrenees in hospital visitation settings,
we placed three in homeless shelters to comfort the homeless and give them self-worth and a friendly face to kiss and hug.
We placed many more for nursing home visitation dogs for the elderly.
Eventually the Sheepadoodle and the Newfkom turned into the breed of choice for therapy at Feathers And Fleece.
The Sheepadoodle continues to be highly sought after due to the hypoallergenic coat
and calm yet confident personality.
The Newfkom turned into the therapy choice for children.
The size of the Newfkom is perfect for those children that have a tendency to be a little rough with a puppy.
The Newfkom is large and extremely calm, and patient.
Over the past three years, Feathers And Fleece Farm has placed more than 20 Newfkoms in the therapy field.
The black and white color of the Sheepadoodle and the Newfkom gives them a clowish  appearance
making these dogs more approachable to children and those suffering from brain issues and depression.

To an autistic child, the world is often filled with loud distractions, bright lights, disorienting stimuli,
and uncontrollable nervous impulses.
Luckily, these days many of these children are able to face this world with a furry little friend by their side.
Though a relatively new area, therapy dogs are being trained and used in many areas of the country and
the organizations promoting and supporting their use is growing.

How do therapy dogs help autistic children?
  • Calming the child - Autistic children are subject to wild emotional outbursts.
Therapy dogs that have bonded with the child have been shown to help keep them calmer.
The dog must be trained to remain calm and support during these times, while the child
must understand that the dog is their for them during this hard time.
This may not be viable for all autistic children-dog relationships, but it has been demonstrated
to work in some cases.
  • Reduction in repetitive motions - Many autistic children exhibit repetitive movements and behaviors.
In some cases, these mannerisms can become very forceful and last for prolonged periods of time.
With a loyal and well-behaved therapy dog to hug and cuddle, some autistic children tend to spend less time with repetitive movements.
Therapy dogs have been trained to recognize the onset of these episodes and interrupt the child.
  • Keeping the child from wandering off - Families of autistic children know that they must be
vigilant because of their child's tendency to wander off.
Therapy dogs are trained to keep these children from straying by circling them and barking to alert family members.
  • Being a soul mate - Dogs have earned their "best friend" status because of their uncanny
ability to understand their master's emotional wants and needs.
It appears that therapy dogs can also form this type of deep emotional bond with autistic children- a bond
that transcends the ability of the child to express him/herself verbally.
Click here to view photos of happy clients and puppies at Feathers And Fleece