SUCCESS STORY: Jake & Autism Support Dog Serge

SUCCESS STORY: Jake & Autism Support Dog Serge

2014 Jake and Serge_new logoIt is difficult to find the words to express our deep gratitude to Laura, Jaime, Bill and everyone at BC & Alberta Guide Dogs.  Our lives are changed for the better in so many ways.  Serge has quickly become part of the family, and although he has bonded somewhat with all of us, he has a particularly special bond with our son, Jake.

Jake was diagnosed with Autism at only two years old.  He has experienced setbacks and delays right from his premature birth, and while a very happy and energetic boy, still experiences many challenges. There is a poem by Emily Perl Kingsley called “Welcome to Holland” (1987) that provides gentle perspective on the journey of raising a child with a disability.  Had we not been on this journey we would not have had the privilege to know Serge and his impact on Jake. Serge matches Jake’s relentless energy and has quickly earned the nickname of the Black Renegade!

We have walked this road only five short years and have coined the term “Awe”-tism when reflecting on Jake. He truly has the capacity to experience the world in a unique level of sensory detail and reasoning in problems that most “ordinary” folk would find overwhelming.  Serge has been a constant for Jake in a busy and ever-changing routine of school and life on a busy farm.  Serge has helped keep Jake safe many times when Jake is completely unaware of the dangers around him—especially roads and parking lots where automatic doors give quick easy access to bolting boys!  Serge has helped even out some of Jake’s emotions—learning appropriate emotions is a work in progress and his “meltdowns” are shorter and less frequent with Serge at his side, both in public and at home.  Jake talks about Serge to his little sister and friends, and enjoys feeding and brushing him.  Their special meal routine and a special game that Jake invented are favorite times for both of them!

As a veterinarian I have experienced the human-animal bond and the profound positive impact it can have on human life.  When researching support for Autistic children we were amazed at discovering the many testimonies citing success with support dogs.  It was an easy decision to apply for a dog and we are still so blessed since August 20, 2014 when Serge met Jake and moved into our lives and hearts.

We are also deeply moved that through the selfless generosity of amazing people and businesses, these dogs are provided with very little cost to those who need them and with the full ongoing support of such a committed organization.

The road ahead for Jake is unknown, as for each of us, but with Serge on his support team we are ever so grateful for such unconditional love and companionship.  We identify with each of the stories we read about Autism Support Dogs—there is so much good that this opportunity is providing for our family and for Jake!

With tears of gratitude, thank you and bless you!


Paul, Jackie, Jake, and Grace