The Best Things in Life…

November 17, 2021

Nathan was matched with Service Dog for a Child Zepplin in 2021. His mother, Leah, shared this update at the Fall 2021 graduation: 

The best things is life are complicated – like love, parenting, relationships. These are the things that make life full and rich. This is what bringing Zeppelin into our home has been. A complicated, emotional journey.

One of the best parts of raising a neuro-diverse child is seeing him reach milestones and goals. The obstacles can be so great when the world we live in looks and feels so different to our child. Some obstacles for us have included Nathan’s father and I having to keep some distance and not give this sweet goofy dog all our attention and love in order to provide Nathan the space and time he needs to bond with his dog. Now we are seeing him reach this milestone. Encouraging Nathan but not pushing him to be more actively involved with Zeppelin. Now we are seeing him reach that milestone. Leading by example with Zeppelin’s training… and now we are seeing him reach milestone.

It has taken time and patience, but now Nathan enjoys snuggling, feeding and treating his dog.

Change and transitions and be difficult for us all, however Zeppelin has been the most patient, respectful, dedicated dog we could ask for.

We know this did not happen overnight. It is everyone involved with the raising and training of Zeppelin – the NEADS staff and his Puppy Raiser – who have given us this gift. Whether we have met you in person or not, you have touch our lives in the most joyful, beautiful, and profound way. You have dedicated your time, energy and emotions into these animals.

Your consistency and commitment shows up in our lives every day. Here are some examples. It shows up when our front door is accidentally left open by a kid, and there is Zeppelin, waiting at the threshold with a simple stay command. It shows up when it is freezing out, and “Zeppelin cookie cookie” gets him in the house quickly. It shows up when we ask him to jump on to Nathan’s bed for his nighttime snuggle, but then “off” ten minutes later when it is actually time for bed. I’ll admit that one he does a little reluctantly. It shows up when walking in stores, and he is the model Service Dog, obeying every command even with three kids and a shopping cart. It shows up when he sits in front of people in public and gives me intense eye contact like “please let me say hello to this person” but he never does until he gets his command to “say hello.”

These are indeed World Class Service Dogs that are raised and trained by a world class organization with world class people. Thank you so much for your dedication and support to these dogs and to us as clients. It has been amazing.