Costa Rican Austistic Boy To Get First Service Dog in Country

Xena Lab Puppy service dog in training

Thanks to a joint project with Spain’s Association of Dog-Assisted Therapies, or AIAP Costa Rica has begun to train service dogs to help incorporate disabled individuals into society. Miguel Angel Signes is one of the instructors in charge of training the service dog but he is in training as well as he is learning how to train a service dog from the AIAP President Nuria Luengo from Spain. The hope is that Xena is the first of many dogs who are trained in country to help those with disabilities in Costa Rica to become more independent and better able to become active members of society.

Aaron is a 7 year old autistic boy who will be receiving Xena the little yellow Labrador as soon as she is properly trained to help him. Aaron is autistic and gets very upset and stressed in unfamiliar, loud and busy surrounding. Aaron’s family hopes that having Xena around will lower his stress and anxiety levels. Things as simple as Xena laying her head in his lap to pet will take his focus away from his environment and put it on her his Service Dog.

The project is very much a novelty in Costa Rica as there have never been any service dogs trained in the country or imported there. An even bigger novelty since this is a brand new program and only one dog is being trained at the moment Aaron and his family have been able to go and meet Xena and have therapy sessions with her already even though she is still a 4 month old puppy and not trained enough to help him out in the real world. Usually a service dog is trained in another state or city and the handler and dog don’t get to meet until right before the dog is to move in with the person and assist them in dealing with incorporating into society. Xena and Aaron have already started to bond and will continue to do so until she is a fully trained service dog and can go and live with him and his family.

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  1. This is so awesome!!
    Katherine G recently posted..The Last BarbequeMy Profile

  2. jenny green says

    This i a wonder ful story

  3. Hola, I am the founder of Pura Vida para Mascotas, a Foundation to support the local Animal Welfare groups in the Grecia area. One of the events I am planning is a Pet Parade and Festival in Grecia that welcomes people and their pets to engage in different activities and contests. I hope to show people different ways that they can engage with their pets every day. I would like to have some demonstrations at the Festival showing Obedience, Agility, Flyball, Service and Therapy dog work. I am very limited in my Spanish which makes all of my projects rather challenging! I am wondering if there are members of your group that would be interested in doing a demonstration when we have our Festival. Also, do you have any information on groups that are involved in any of the other activities. I believe the more a person interacts with their pets, the more value that pet has to the family and therefore the Welfare of the animal takes on a new importance. One of the goals of my foundation is to educate people about proper pet care and their responsibility as a pet owner.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Please check out our FB page to find out more about our mission

    Pura Vida para Mascotas, Susan


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