We heard about Freedom Service Dogs and some of the life-changing work they were doing in our community. We were hopeful that the right kind of service dog could do wonders for our son, Blake. At the age of two, Blake was diagnosed with Autism. He struggles with loud noises, wandering off, holding a conversation, motor coordination, social and safety awareness. But really more than that, Blake just struggles with everything in everyday life.
Our family was united with Ziggy in October 2016 through Freedom Service Dogs. When Ziggy first came home, he was hesitant and a little unsure of his surroundings. We live in the country and most of Ziggy’s upbringing had been in an urban setting. He wasn’t used to our cats and thought chasing them was funny. We were so worried that Ziggy would think we were just a temporary foster home and would not bond with Blake. Blake also struggled with responding to Ziggy socially and with giving him commands.
After a couple of months, Ziggy and Blake both settled into a routine.
Blake started to get Ziggy dressed in his vest, get him in the car for outings, and giving him basic commands. This was a big achievement for both of them, especially for Ziggy, who was relentless in his affection for Blake, even when Blake would not reciprocate the affection. Ziggy also started to appreciate his new cat friends and even shared his dog bed with Chloe, the kitty.
Fast forward to our one year anniversary with Ziggy…
We cannot imagine life without him. He is not only part of the family, but we jokingly call Blake and Ziggy, the twins. They love the same activities, like riding in the Polaris Razor, camping, going out to eat, heading to the library for some new books, and watching movies together. Blake gets very emotional if Ziggy gets corrected for any unwanted behavior, because they are buddies.
Ziggy has become quite a celebrity in our town and at school. The teachers, students, and neighbors look forward to seeing Ziggy and Blake out in the community. Blake seems to enjoy the attention and when people come speak to them. We are looking forward to watching how the bond of Blake and Ziggy continues to grow.