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Rufus, the autism service dog, set to graduate today and start helping Kyle

There will be a special graduation this morning in Prince George.

The final public access test will be held at Pine Centre Mall after which an autism service dog team will officially graduate from BC & Alberta Guide Dogs in Prince George.

Kyle will graduate with his new autism service dog, Rufus after two weeks of working one-on-one with autism service dog apprentice instructor, Danielle Hyson.

BC & Alberta Guide Dogs breeds, raises and trains Autism Support Dogs that are provided for children ages three to 10 years old with autism. These certified service dogs are provided at no cost to families for the working life of the dog, typically eight years. The organization relies on donations from generous sponsors to provide these essential services. A generous donation was made to service northern British Columbia.

For Kyle’s family, an autism service dog will help support his safety, security and inclusion in his community.

“Kyle is especially excited to know that he will have the consistent companionship from Rufus throughout his days/activities,” said Heather, Kyle’s mother. “We have already seen such a connection between them. Our hope is to eventually have Rufus accompany Kyle to school to support him through his day.”

The graduation takes place immediately following the final public access test, which is required to certify the autism service dog according to provincial standards under the BC Guide and Service Dog Act.

“It’s a culmination of an incredible amount of training and preparation taken to breed, raise and professionally train a Service Dog,” said Bill Thornton, CEO of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs. “At the end of the process is a Service Dog that is a loyal and reliable partner with appropriate skills for someone in need.”

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