Cassidy & Trixie: True Friendship in Action

This post was written by Stephanie Dufault, Cassidy’s mother

cassidy and trixie 2

Cassidy with her assistance dog Trixie

Thank you again for everyone involved in training Trixie. To most people she is just a dog, but to my daughter Cassidy who has autism she is much more than just a dog. She is a companion who will not mock her for having difficulty speaking, she will not think Cassidy is strange or different because she repeats things and has a lot of trouble reading and learning. She will not tease her, bully her, or leave her out when playing like her peers do. She will not scold her for being inappropriate and get angry at her for acting out like I do. Instead she will provide Cassidy with the comfort and confidence that only a dog can give because Trixie does not know Cassidy is different. All Trixie knows is that she loves my daughter, and my daughter loves her. The positive effect of Trixie on Cassidy is quite noticeable. Cassidy is calm, focused, and happy around her. In contrast to the challenges of functioning in a world that requires communicating like everyone else, being with Trixie offers Cassidy a place where she is not judged and is unconditionally loved and accepted. Communicating intuitively through actions is encouraged in the world of dogs. I have also noticed it provides a positive outlet for Cassidy to practice using her words without judgement or evaluation. Trixie responds to Cassidy’s words without the correction that she encounters throughout her daily life. The benefit of her self esteem cannot be understated. Without NEADS and everyone at the prison [who trained and worked with Trixie] this wouldn’t have happened for Cassidy, so I can not thank you enough. — Stephanie Slattery, Cassidy Dufault’s mother

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