autism assistance dog for conor

helping conor in a furry and cuddly way

Poodle combats autism in local elementary school

Here’s a link to the NBC local news story on Conor at school with his dog, Peyton.

Poodle combats autism in local elementary school.

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“Things will go as they will and there is no need to hurry to meet them”



As Conor moves down his own river at his own pace, it once again is difficult to try not to put a motor on his canoe to make it go faster. I always feel like it’s a race against time to get him to communicate more with his peers and get him up to speed on everything he does at school, home and in social settings. I know it gets harder the older he gets to “catch up”. So where do they sell those power boat motors?

Needless to say, Conor goes at his own speed, and thankfully he is moving forward. Sometimes at a faster rate than at other times, but forward all the same. I am grateful for that. 

Peyton has been a tremendous blessing to Conor and our family. Each time I go to school I hear some kiddo say “there’s Conor and Peyton!”. Conor gets a big goofy grin on his face and bounces down the hall with his buddy. One of the great things about Peyton being at school is that it gets kids and adults talking about autism. Not many knew what was up with Conor and why he wouldn’t talk to anyone. It broke my heart seeing kids trying to engage with Conor and when he didn’t respond they gave up and looked like they thought Conor was being rude and not talking to them. Now everyone knows that Peyton is there to help Conor in many ways including communication. Kids are curious about autism and thankfully ask a lot of questions. Conor is gaining a lot more confidence, and Peyton is helping bridge the gap between a “kid with special needs” and a “kid who gets to bring his dog to school and needs extra help talking”. 

Still want that power boat motor though….


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It’s too wet

Three magic words that put tears in my eyes. I checked on Conor the other night in his bedroom and he was getting out of his bed. I asked him “what are you doing?”. He replied “it’s too wet”. Shocked, since he has never answered a question that I’ve asked, I said “what?”. Again he replied, “it’s too wet”. I went and checked his bed, and sure enough, he had spilled a bottle of water on his duvet and it was all wet. 

That short sentence was the first time Conor answered a question spontaneously and appropriately. Yay! I had never even heard him use that phrase before and yet out it came. I am hoping this is the tip of the iceberg and his thoughts we know are in his head will start tumbling out through speech.

I don’t know what triggered him to say that (other than the duvet was indeed too wet), but I’d like to think his buddy Peyton had his paw in there somewhere. Peyton has been with us about 3 weeks and we have noticed more spontaneous language coming from Conor since his arrival. Conor also walks around with a goofy smile on his face a lot when he is with Peyton (which is pretty much at all times). I’m told that as their bond gets stronger, the likelihood of Conor improving with speech, social interaction, lowered anxiety and general happiness will improve. I believe we are already seeing positive responses to Peyton from Conor so my hopes are high. We have been down a long road to get Peyton and the reality is you are never really sure how well the dog will work out for your child. Happy to report that it looks like Peyton might be the tool that takes Conor to another positive level in development. Thank you Peyton!



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