Boy with autism receives a new best friend

News & Innovation

by Megan McCook

Oct 15, 2015

Peyton, Stephanie and Annabelle ClarkPeyton loves to draw and watch movies. In fact, the 12-year-old proudly knows more than 200 quotations from different movies. Peyton has autism, which makes social interaction and changes in routine more difficult. For most of his life, Peyton’s family has adapted life to minimize surprises, but in March, Peyton received a welcome surprise in the form of an assistance dog.

Peyton’s mother applied for a skilled companion dog for her son from Canine Companions for Independence and participated in an intensive two-week training program at Baylor Health Center at Irving-Coppell, located adjacent to the construction site for the new Canine Companions for Independence at Baylor Scott & White Health – Kinkeade Campus, which is set to open this fall.

During these two weeks, Peyton and his mother Stephanie were matched with Annabelle, a yellow Labrador/Golden Retriever trained in approximately 40 commands.

AnnabelleStephanie, a radiation therapist, hopes Annabelle, with her calm and loving personality will increase Peyton’s confidence and become a social icebreaker.

“I want Peyton to have something great for show and tell and lessen the amount of time he feels alone,” Stephanie said.

Annabelle will bring Peyton companionship and an ear to listen to all of Peyton’s favorite films.

Canine Companions has placed more than 4,800 life-changing assistance dogs to date, including 1,200 skilled companion dogs with children with disabilities like Peyton.

The unique collaboration between Baylor Scott & White Health and Canine Companions for Independence will continue to provide assistance dogs for adults, children and veterans with disabilities entirely free of charge, thanks to the generosity of donors. Find out how you can give.


About the Author

Megan is the system director of digital engagement for Baylor Scott & White Health .

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