Thursday, January 27, 2011

The story of a service dog that changed an autistic girl's life

From Global Edmonton in Canada:

Nine-year-old Emily Ainsworth was born with autism.

A few years ago Emily was matched with a service dog named Levi.

That's when her life changed forever and it's that story that Emily's mom Alison Ainsworth hopes to share to the world with her new book.

"This is an opportunity to tell Emily's story, that is one of hope and grace and compassion and sheer will," Ainsworth, who is from Stony Plain, said on Monday.

Ainsworth hopes her book "If My Dog Could Talk" about her daughter's special bond with Levi, will bring more awareness about autism and autism service dogs, to people around the world.

"We find that having him nearby has a really calming influence on her and allows us all to be a more productive, happier family," Ainsworth said.

Emily and Levi are inseperable and in 2008, even appeared on the Larry King show to share their story.

"He's my best friend and he'll always be here for me," Emily said.

Although at first, Ainsworth's daughter and her labradoodle dog needed to be together at all times, Levi has given Emily enough stability that she can now be without him in certain situations and still be okay.

"She feels grounded, she feels calmer, more assertive," Ainsworth said. "He gives her affirmation that she needs to be able to flex her wings and conquer her horizons."

People can order a copy of "If My Dog Could Talk," which features personal photos of Emily and Levi, at