Autism AssistanceMiscellaneousService Dog Stories

An autistic boy’s journey to find his best friend

By October 16, 2012 October 24th, 2012 No Comments

MT. ORAB, Ohio — “Good boy! Good boy!” These are the two words that are overheard throughout 4 Paws for Ability training center. And it’s exactly what Samuel DeWitt will be hearing when he comes to class on Tuesday, Oct. 23 to finally meet his service dog, a Golden Retriever named Lugnut.

After tears of frustration turned into tears of joy, Samuel—who was scammed by an Illinois woman claiming to run a service dog agency—will soon be able to rely on his new best friend for life.

Samuel, who has autism, does not understand dangers. He has no fear of water or cars or even strangers. Lugnut will keep Samuel from wandering off, and will basically keep him safe as well as at ease.

The idea of having such a dog was almost crushed when they raised money for several months, but heard nothing back from the organization in Illinois that they were sending money to. That’s when 4 Paws stepped up.

Earlier this year 4 Paws for Ability decided that they had to do something for this family who was right in their own backyard, said Executive Director and Founder Karen Shirk.

“We felt that this family had been through enough,” said Shirk about donating a $22,000 service dog to the family for Samuel. And when Wrestle Against Autism heard what 4 Paws was doing for the DeWitts, they donated a large portion of the money needed to fund Samuel’s dog.

“It’s going to give Samuel opportunities to really have normal functioning and give him a better daily life,” said David DeWitt. ”It was just such an amazing act of kindness.”

It’s not something Samuel understands completely, just yet.

“We had sat down and actually had talked with him a little bit that Samuel, you are gonna get a dog. And we weren’t quite sure it really even sunk in at first, but about three or four minutes later, Samuel was just running around the house going ‘Oh man! Oh man! Oh man!” said Elizabeth DeWitt of her son’s reaction. 

Visit their Facebook page ‘Autism’s Ruff’ and follow their journey for a service dog.

-Jessica Noll


Watch his journey as documented by Jessica Noll (who was a multimedia journalist at that time for WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.)

Samuel Series: A boy’s journey to his best friend for life