Lloyd and Scout

Lloyd is a young adult living with autism. Born and raised in South Euclid, Ohio, he works as a Material Handler at the East Cleveland Adult Day Center. Lloyd describes the best part about his job is interacting with other people. Lloyd assists other co-workers with lifting, carrying, and labeling finished products to be delivered or shipped. While he’s not working, he dances, listens to music, and watches Barney videos.

Although his life is filled with support and activity, due to his autism, Lloyd struggles with anxiety and temper tantrums. As a family, they began to seek out options to ensure Lloyd had the tools to live his best life. A Google search for “service and therapy dog organizations in my area” led Michele, Lloyd’s mother, to The Ability Center’s website. As she began to discover more about the Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) Program, she soon realized this was a perfect fit for Lloyd.

Scout, a golden retriever adult therapy dog, was paired with Lloyd in April 2017. From that day forward, life changed for the family.

ADAI’s training approach for Scout was to improve Lloyd’s well-being, both mentally and emotionally. The family took full advantage of training week, following closely along with directions and training activities facilitated by ADAI staff. The family is devoted to working as a team to not only improve Lloyd’s quality of life, but also to provide the best care for Scout. Building on the skills Lloyd gained at training, he is coming out of his shell. Michele expresses, “Now that we have Scout, our lives have changed in a positive way. For starters, Lloyd is coming out of his room and interacting with Scout. His outdoor activities have also increased. Scout provides a calming influence during the evening time.” Scout is bridging the social gap between Lloyd and his peers because he feels confident with Scout by his side.

He copes better with anxiety and combats everyday stressors. Not only does the dog improve his social well-being, he increases his exercise. Lloyd’s days are filled with grooming, caring, and staying active with Scout."

Lloyd’s mother shares her appreciation for the program and it’s supporters, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making this opportunity possible. I appreciate your dedication, time, energy, and support for serving the needs of our family.”