To the unassuming eye, Luke is a typical kid. Energetic, creative, and adventurous are just a few words to describe Luke. He spends hours building intricate LEGO designs or getting lost in a game of Minecraft.

The bright young boy lives with his parents, brother Ryan, and sister Avery. During the summer months, you can find Luke exploring local parks, parasailing, or riding roller coasters at Cedar Point.

Luke also lives with autism. Strong emotions and anxiety sometimes take over Luke’s ability to stay calm and focus. His condition is mostly social in nature. “He has a difficult time connecting with others on a personal level, although he tries very hard,” shares his mom.

Mom continues, “He judges the world based on its expression, which very often feels and looks harsh in nature. I'm sure as he grows and his perspectives change, he'll be able to add context, depth and meaning while processing this information. In the meantime, a therapy dog gives Luke a sense of peace and comfort. He will find the world is a kinder place and not as scary as he previously interpreted. The therapy dog acts as his partner and best friend, morning, noon, and night.”

Before reaching out to The Ability Center, Luke’s family carefully examined his behavior around dogs and other animals. They noticed his attention and emotional stability was shifted when an animal was around. Grandparents and other friends that had animals noticed the instant change when around the care of an animal as well. Ruth, a golden retriever from Kanasa Canines, was trained to do exactly what Luke needed; become a calming companion. Luke used to cry in bed because he wanted someone he could hug and kiss 24/7. Now, he has Ruth.

“Ruth is going to be my best friend and live in my heart forever. I want to thank every person who has made this possible, from Ruth’s first mom, her trainers, and everyone involved in making her a match for me. I will take good care of her and she will take good care of me,” Luke shares.