It has been a joy to get to know and work with Laura and Rick Sylvester of Good Dog! Their organization is meeting the unique needs of families with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). These families know better than most, how isolating and alienating Autism can be. Until the general public has a higher level of awareness about ASD, children and parents will continue to be mis-understood and marginalized.
Autism companion dogs can beautifully fill the gap of understanding. They signal to the public at least a couple things: First, the behavior you may be observing should be understood through a different lens and therefore not immediately condemned. Second, the companion dog is an invitation to engage.
I am captured by how this group will have all sorts of social benefits to the many families that find themselves unable to be as active as they would like.
As Cascade has been discerning how best to come alongside Good Dog!, the Design Challenge idea was birthed. Laura needed some help with thinking through their business plan, partnerships, publicity, and volunteer recruitment. The Design Challenge allowed us to bring the many gifts and talents of people (both within and outside of our church) to bear on Good Dog’s health and well-being.
We continue to journey with Laura and look forward to hearing how God’s love might flow outward to bless many families.