"For the record, Cass took Mercy's bed. This was not our idea." Mom, Chris, posted this picture on Facebook with a smile and a laugh shortly after Mercy joined their family a little less than a year ago. Chris and her husband fall into the minority of Autism Spectrum families, having a daughter on the spectrum where 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed on the spectrum, 1 in 42 boys. Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S. and there is no medical detection or cure. And so when Cass's family reached out to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids they were seeking interactions, connections, and a partner in crime for Cassidy.
We first met Cassidy in the fall of 2015, her laughter and smile were and still are...contagious. A fun-loving child, she was diagnosed with Autism at two years old and is non-verbal. Cassidy is constantly on the move, looking for hugs, kisses, or racing up and down the hallway. Crowds, loud noises and routine changes induce anxiety with Cassidy. She will plug her ears, lick her lips, and vocalize loudly. Cassidy likes to spend her time watching shows on her iPad; some over and over again until the power runs out. Before even having met Mercy, the family imagined the benefits of a service dog to promote verbal communication & help Cassidy build relationship skills that she lacked. "She will be able to pet & give it hugs to her service dog, this would help ease her anxiety. She would know that the service dog is with her at all times and take comfort in its presence." said Mom, Chris back in 2015 during her initial intake interview.
Like any parent, their goal was to have Cassidy reach her fullest potential and providing her with a service dog would help her gain confidence, independence, emotional support, and a friend
Ask and ye shall receive! Now the two seem inseparable. "She looks for Mercy and tolerates Mercy in her space. Where Cassidy goes, Mercy is right behind her. Mercy's whole demeanor and tasks like "cuddle" and "love" have given Cassidy a new calm and focus in a once somewhat chaotic world. Mercy really lives up to her namesake. She's been a blessing."
Not to leave Big Sis, Cayce, out. The whole family is overjoyed with the new addition. "We love you guys. It's been a great experience for our Cass!!"
In the next 3 years, we