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Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers Makes Delivery to Niantic, Connecticut Child

Niantic, Connecticut - November 2, 2016 - (

Friday, November 4, will be a special day for Amelia Cunningham of Niantic, Connecticut, as she receives her Autism Response Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.  Amelia will be welcoming into her home and heart a Golden Retriever named “Thor.”  Based in Virginia, Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers has a mission to provide specially-bred and trained dogs for adults and children with invisible disabilities like Diabetes, PTSD, Seizure Disorders, or in the case of Amelia—Autism Spectrum Disorder.   Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, “SDWR” has over 500 service dogs working across the US and around the globe.  SDWR is currently serving almost 1,000 families.

Thor has already received thousands of hours of training as Autism service dog through SDWR’s puppy raiser training program where volunteers raise puppies in training for about a period of one year and then through the foundation and skill set training provided through SDWR trainers at the facility in Virginia.  Thor will continue to learn under the careful guidance of a certified trainer from SDWR and through the rapport he develops with Amelia and her parents, at their home in Niantic.

Amelia who is 9 years old has had to face the daily challenges associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder since being diagnosed at the age of 5.  “Amelia has sensory challenges, impulse control issues and experiences some sleep pattern disturbances” states her mom, Kayla. “We also experience some elopement issues.”

Autism Spectrum Disorder does hinder a person’s ability to process sensory stimulation, handle socialization experiences and even realize danger situations.  New scientific research studies into Autism therapy provide positive evidence of the difference a service dog can make.    Dan Warren states, “The studies showed children experienced fewer sensory overloads, ‘meltdowns,’ smiled more frequently, experienced better sleep patterns, and had less frustration when around their service dog.”  Autism service dogs are also trained to redirect away from repetitive and sometimes harmful behaviors. One of the main goals when training an Autism service dog is the need to keep a child safe; when the family goes out, the child may literally be tethered to the dog, or the dog will use its natural herding and blocking abilities to keep him or her from running off or getting hurt.    According to Mr. Warren, “the studies further found that safety aspect was a huge relief for families as parents’ anxiety over their child can lead to social isolation.”  

Now with the arrival of Thor, Amelia and her parents will have yet another tool, a four-legged one that has received training to assist her to live a happier and more enriching life.   Since Thor is a service dog and covered under laws in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he will be able to accompany Amelia everywhere—from school to restaurants, shopping and even trips to the doctor.  Thor will keep Amelia safe as well as help her cope with the sensory overload challenges that come with an Autism diagnosis. 

Thor will continue to work with the SDWR trainers in the Cunningham home to learn new skills to assist Amelia as well as to achieve public access certification.  Certification must be achieved by Thor and his handler—in this case, Amelia’s parents.  Dan Warren is quick to point out that, “all the incredible services these dogs can provide are through progression, hard work and dedication of the organization and the family who must work together to build on training foundations and fundamentals.  This is about an 18-month program for follow up and customization training.”

What sets SDWR apart from other non-profit service dog organizations are the customized training methods and SDWR matches dogs to their “person.”  According to Dan Warren, “that important bonding time between dog and person can begin to happen right away.  For nearly a decade we’ve been utilizing this method of dog placement and we’ve achieved amazing results.” 

Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers is a non-profit organization based in Madison, Virginia, and relies on donations to help the Organization in its mission, “Until there’s a cure…there’s a dog.”  To make or donation or learn more about SDWR, please visit the website, To learn more about Autism Service Dogs visit  To find out how you can volunteer as a puppy raiser visit .

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