I think all of us, who have dogs, know that our dogs innately understand our feelings. So if we come home, and we're feeling great, the dog instinctively picks up—You feel great. That means you're gonna play with me. And if we're feeling less than great, and especially if we're feeling down and depressed, the dog will feel, You're looking a bit low. I think I'll just come over quietly and sit down beside you.
So they can pick up our feelings and emotions. What that means is that there's mute communication between the two species. You don't have to articulate in words the way you and I have to talk about things. Dog will understand how we feel, because it just picks up something about our body language.
Nowhere is this more important than with service or assistance dogs.
Unlike other service dog and guide dog providers, when you're dealing with autism, you need dogs that are very, very calm, very quiet, very laid-back. So we, over the last sixteen years, have been working towards breeding really calm, very relaxed, easygoing dogs.
Chester joined our family six weeks ago. And he's from National Service Dogs, so he is officially NSD Chester. He is two and a half years old, and he's a lab retriever mix. Max was diagnosed with autism at the age of thirty-two months. When we got Chester, one of the first things I really look forward to doing with Max was going for a walk. Because at the age of six, I've never really been able to go for walk with Max; because what he does, like many children with autism, is he bores. So, for him, it's a very fun game to run away from you. With Chester's vest that he wears, he has a hookup, and there's a handle that Max holds on to.
Chester 在六星期前加入我們的家庭。而他是來自全國服務犬協會，所以牠是正式的 NSD Chester。牠兩歲半，而牠是隻混種拉不拉多犬(註一)。Max 在三十二個月大時被診斷出自閉症。當我們得到 Chester 時，我非常期待和 Max 一起做的首要事之一是去散個步。因為從他六歲起，我就從沒真正能和 Max 一起散步過；因為他做的事，就像許多有自閉症的孩子一樣，是他覺得無趣。所以，對他來說，從你身邊跑走就是個非常好玩的遊戲。有了 Chester 穿著的背心， 牠有一條狗鍊，而那有一個 Max 可以握住的把手。
So the first time we went out for a walk by ourselves, Chester was an all-star, and Max was just so thrilled to be out with his dog. He never dropped the handle once. One other thing that Max does to cope—when he's frustrated, or express his frustration—is to strike out. And, you know, it's hard, you know, to have your child striking you. We brought Chester home, and that aggression and frustration just disappeared. Now that we have Chester here for six weeks, and Max has stopped.
我們第一次自己出去散步時，Chester 像是個大明星，而 Max 就是超級興奮能和他的狗一起出去。他從未扔下把手一次過。另一個 Max 處理事情會做的事是－－當他感到挫折，或表達他的沮喪時－－是他會用力打。而且，你知道，這很難受，你要知道，讓你自己的孩子打著你。我們把 Chester 帶回家，而那種攻擊性和挫折感就消失了。而今我們有 Chester 在這六星期了，Max 就停下來了。
Do they still have outbursts? Yes, but there are fewer. They're less intense, and they die down faster. Many of the dogs, once they're bonded with their kids, will anticipate those anxiety levels building.
Chester sleeps with him. And since Chester came home, you know, we don't get outburst in the middle of the night anymore. So Max stays in his bed, and he's got Chester there. Now that he has Chester, he doesn't call out. He might be awake. I don't know, because I am asleep, which is fantastic. And I don't really...I don't worry about Max, because I know that Chester is in there. I didn't really understand what a blessing Chester would be to a family, and not just to Max, but, you know, he very much is a healing balm for a family.
Chester 和他一起睡。而且自從 Chester 來家裡後，你知道，我們不再在大半夜碰到情緒失控的狀況。Max 待在他的床上，而他有 Chester 陪著。現在因為他有 Chester，他就不大叫了。他可能醒來。我不知道，因為我睡著了，那真是太好了。而我不完全...我不擔心 Max，因為我知道 Chester 在那裡面。我那時並未真正瞭解 Chester 對一個家庭來說會是一份多大的福氣，而且不只是對 Max，而是，你知道，他算是一個家庭的療癒慰藉物。
Over the last sixteen, seventeen years, we focused on our autism program, and have recently expanded out to train dogs for individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder, specifically veterans. And we're developing a new program that will put Canine Assisted Intervention dogs into facilities, partnered with doctors, physicians, therapists, so that they can use fully trained service dogs in helping all of their patients, or a collection of their patients in various forms of...whether it's addiction therapy, mental health issues, behavioral issues, and...so that will expand out the role of our dogs in the coming year.
註一：混種拉不拉多的全稱為 labrador retriever mix。
- 「期待」- Look Forward To
When we got Chester, one of the first things I really look forward to doing with Max was going for a walk.
當我們得到 Chester 時，我非常期待和 Max 一起做的首要事之一是去散個步。
- 「大聲地喊」- Call Out
Now that he has Chester, he doesn't call out.
- 「集中於、專注在」- Focus On
...we focused on our autism program, and have recently expanded out to train dogs for individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder, specifically veterans.