Autism Guide Dog Retires After Helping A Kid Grow Safely

Autism Guide Dog Retires After Helping A Kid Grow Safely

James King always has a reason to smile when he looks back to his childhood, thanks to Winter the Labrador – an autism guide dog.

James’ mother, Chantel King, said the family avoided outings initially because James tends to run around, and they were worried about his safety. All that changed when Winter came into their lives and started watching over James, ensuring he was always safe.

James’ family considered using a special needs stroller before someone introduced them to the Guide Dogs SA program, where they met Winter. At the time, the Guide Dogs SA program offered autism assistance dogs only in Adelaide while Chantel was in Mount Gambier, but they changed their minds due to her persistence.

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When Winter joined the family, many things changed for the better, including James staying without supervision when his family was out. “I can actually go out and explore the world without my parents having to fear about me running away or running into traffic because the dog will be tethered to me and then will just lay down and anchor,” James said.

Winter was not only a guide dog to James but was also his best friend. The duo went everywhere together and created many fun memories. So when Winter retired as an assistance dog after a decade, James’ family was more than happy to adopt him.

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