Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Autistic Children, Therapy on Four Legs

Shadow, a black Labrador retriever, knows how to interact with people without overreacting to them — a necessity for a well-trained therapy dog, said her owner and handler, Ani Shaker.
Considered "bombproof," meaning she will remain calm in nearly any situation, Shadow, and Ms. Shaker, volunteer at the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley north of New York City.
"As soon as I get her working vest out, she jumps up and her little tail starts wagging," Ms. Shaker said. "She loves the work. That's what she lives for, and I can tell she knows she is helping someone else feel good."

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