North Star's unique socialization program begins at birth and follows our pups to their children's towns, where we employ local positive trainers and quality training facilities for our families to be able to receive their North Star dogs early and get on the ground floor of his or her training program.
North Star pups are bred for temperaments conducive to working with children; they are then socialized from the start to regard children as benevolent leaders, and to understand a solid sit/stay is where it's at (ie, a solid default position for the all important meet & greets.) Shaping a young pup to treat a young person as their leader is a process that takes years, and getting the child we serve onto the ground floor of this process is a valuable, and a fun, thing to do.
The true magic of a North Star partnership with a child happens in the spontaneous interactions of a carefully constructed relationship between child and pup, and adults take a backseat role of supervising interactions, gently rewarding those that encourage socialization, education or comfort for the child served. Our work then sets the stage for many therapeutic processes, and our dogs can be an adjunct to occupational, physical, music, art or animal assisted therapy.
We learn from every partnership between child and North Star pup that we create, and we strive to teach others what we are learning. Patty recently completed her MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut, and is now completing her second book, ANGELS AWARE: Autism Assistance Dogs for Children in the Age of Anxiety. She is available to speak at schools or conferences, and speaks with a strong message of acceptance and understanding for the unique challenges that children with autism must face.
At North Star, we believe there is no better way to teach tolerance than through the eyes of a young puppy in training.
Here is a video created by Dan about a North Star placement with a boy named Joel and a North Star dog named Hero...
For more information or to learn how to help create or sponsor a North Star placement, please contact:
Patty Dobbs Gross
Founder & Executive Director
North Star Foundation
20 Deerfield Lane
Storrs, CT 06268
"We help children find their way..."