JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A Johnson City family is hoping a small lab puppy will make a huge difference in a 5-year-old's life.
A 6-month-old yellow lab will truly become a boy's best friend and his guide through life. "It's amazing. We're really excited about it and it's going to change a lot of things for us," says Monte Riffey.
Monte Riffey has a 5-year-old son named Camdyn. She tells us Camdyn was diagnosed with autism when he was just 18 months old. "Since then we've had a lot of challenges. We started doing therapy as soon as he was diagnosed, but the last few things he needs help with the dog would help," she said.
Her wish was granted. On Tuesday, Camdyn received Puzzle, his service dog to help with his autism. "Something to help him when we go on outings, outings are a bit of a problem for us. The temper tantrums, the anxiety that he has, the noises; he has a lot of problems with noises," adds Riffey.
We learned trainers picked Puzzle especially for Camdyn and his needs.
Cheri Campbell with Warren Retrievers tells us the families go through an interview process and the dogs are given a temperament test. "That and their bios, and then we match them up together and determine which dog is the right fit for which family," she explained.
Campbell tells us Puzzle has a personality compatible with Camdyn. "He's a laid-back, very calm dog . For most autistic individuals, they need that calmer dog as opposed to the hyper dog," she said.
We learned Camdyn can run off sometimes, and that's another thing the service dog will help with. "If Camdyn takes off and he's missing, Puzzle will be able to find him. He'll be taught to go and find him," says Campbell.
Monte Riffey tells us this is another step in the right direction for Camdyn and she hopes Puzzle will make a big impact on her son's life.
The family tells us they choose the name Puzzle for the dog because puzzle pieces are the symbol for autism awareness.
Puzzle still has some training he will go through until he is two years old.
If you want more information about Warren Retrievers and their service dogs, click here.
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