This Fall, thanks to our W.A.G.S. Parents, we will be sharing with you a very THANKFUL Thanksgiving series of “Where are they now” stories. These are the smiles, the moments, the steps and achievements that only a picture or a parent could begin to truly describe as to the impact these service dogs make in their children’s every day lives. Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and Socially – this gift of a service dog is not just a friend for now….it’s a friend for life. In celebration of W.A.G.S. 4 Kids 10 year anniversary as a community (Yay! Whoop!! 3 Cheers!!!) and the charity that Cleveland grew, we would like to thank you for helping us change the lives of over 55 children and families in your community of Northeast Ohio! And so, it’s back to the future as we begin our series with one of our very first placements…Myles & AJ:
W.A.G.S. dog AJ was partnered with Myles, a four year old with Cerebral Palsy in 2005. At the time Myles was living with paralysis of his left side. He communicated with simple sign language to let his parents know his wants and needs. Myles did not speak. In the final phase of AJ’s training, the W.A.G.S. trainers stopped talking to AJ and worked exclusively with hand signs. When AJ went to live with Myles, that little boy had a dog he could command and tell what to do, on his own, with his right hand. A real dog of his own. Something his parents hadn’t thought possible. But there is a more interesting thing that happened through this placement of AJ to Myles. As the days passed, Myles began to speak. His first words were not “Mommy” or “Daddy”, words his parents had waited so long to hear him say …Myles said “come” and “sit”, clear as a bell, because he wanted to talk to AJ.
Wendy Crann (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, Executive Director) has told us that on a visit to see Myles, when he had just turned six, he climbed up on the sofa to sit next to her with a picture book and asked if she would like to hear him read. As Myles pointed to pictures and read the words below each, Wendy said, “Myles, I love that you are reading to me.” Myles answered, “Me too!”