Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Have you ever had a best friend who completely changed the way you looked at your life? Someone who came into your life and completely turned your life and world upside down… in the best of ways? Well, that happened for my son.
My son, Logan, is 6. He is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. Since he was two, he has stayed in his own little world, and I have always had a difficult time reaching him. It has been hard. We missed out on a lot of “normal” memories together. Going out to restaurants were too loud and chaotic, he would have sensory meltdowns, so we would avoid them. Waiting the fireworks on the Fourth of July was way too loud, so he never saw them. Trick-or-Treat for Halloween was far too much input, so he did not go. Even mundane things like a trip to the grocery store required headphones, a weighted vest, and tons of prep work.
Of course, the hardest part was seeing him alone. He was hyperactive, but also preferred to be alone and away from others, so he would isolate himself in preschool and any chance he got. He spent his time at home playing alone, and his time in school playing alone. He was constantly alone.
His pediatrician recommended a service dog to assist with behavior disruption for the sensory meltdowns when he was about four. I came across an incredible nonprofit organization called 4 Paws for Ability that trained and placed Autism-Assistance dogs for disabled children. The wait was long. It took us over a year to get her… but we finally did. And then everything changed.
Her name is Scarah. Every liter born to 4 Paws for Ability has a theme, and Scarah was born to the “Monster High” liter and named after “Scarah Screams” the Banshee. We traveled to Xenia, Ohio to get Scarah in March of 2019 and stayed there for two weeks so that I could train to become her “handler.” Logan and Scarah bonded instantly.
Scarah was known as being the “stubborn” dog in her graduating class. Logan is known for being headstrong himself. The two were such a rough-and-tough perfect match. They have been together over a year now, eating together, reading together, sleeping together, going to school together, but it wasn’t until I compared Logan’s school pictures that I really saw the difference Scarah has made in his life.
In preschool, Logan’s school photo was hard to look at. You can see the fear in his eyes of the camera. The anxiety. He hated the “flash” of the camera. His teacher’s aide had to hold him down. He was terrified. It broke my heart to see that photo. I covered it up as soon as I could.
But this year’s photo… Logan was different… and it was all because he had Scarah. He was confident. He was head to toe in his favorite shark-tastic attire. Him and Scarah both wore matching bowties that day. He was smiling so big. He still has Autism, he always will, and that is perfectly okay. He is perfect. But now he is confident in himself, because his best friend is always right there by his side.