Nancy Fierer, director of Susquehanna Service Dogs in Harrisburg, shares the story of a young girl with autism whose disability prevented her and her family from enjoying simple outings. Even Christmas holidays ended in frustration because the stimuli of lights, crowds and costumed Santas resulted in unexpected meltdowns and fears for the seven-year-old. Never could the family be "normal"; never could the little girl experience the things that other children her age experienced. But all that changed when Phillip came into their lives.
Phillip — a black Labrador retriever and service dog — became the child's best friend, stood in lines with her and showed her patience, lay down on top of her when she needed calming and "smiled" alongside her in a Santa photo.
This success story is a result of a lot of training, a lot of dedication and a lot of love.
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