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Michelle Brier, Blue Path Service Dogs

Providing safety and companionship to children with autism

BluePath Service Dogs was established in December 2016 to provide service dog assistance for children with autism.

“About half of children diagnosed with autism are prone to wandering or development behaviors where they don’t have a true understanding of danger and may run into a crowded street or parking lot, or towards water without knowing how to swim,” said Michelle Brier, vice president of marketing and development at the Hopewell Junction-headquartered organization. “Our dogs wear a vest and the child is tethered to the dog with a specially designed belt. If the child goes to bolt, the dog anchors and immediately stops that child from getting away.”

Brier said the dogs “also offer incredible companionship and help to reduce anxiety, particularly in transitions. Over this past year, more than ever with so many routines interrupted and regular life somewhat turned upside down, the support and stability of having our dogs in their lives has made it possible for children and families to just be able to get through day to day.”

Because Blue Path doesn’t want financial capacity to be a barrier to service, dogs are provided to approved families completely free of charge, after recipients are vetted through a process that can take from six months to a year, including a series of interviews.

For more, visit https://www.bluepathservicedogs.org/

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