Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Autism partner dog helps Horry County family

Dru Forster
Published: July 29, 2008

In their Horry County backyard, they seem like the picture perfect family, but the Clemants have had there fair share of challenges. Both of their sons have Autism.

Monique Clemant says, “No two kids with Autism are alike. They say it’s the disease of three-hundred and sixty degrees and it really and truly is like every degree is different and makes a child with autism that much more different.”

Monique and her husband Jim have needed all the guidance they can get with their sons, seven year old Daniel and six year old Thomas. They turned to “The North Star Foundation”, a non-profit program that helps children with developmental disabilities.

Someone made an anonymous donation to the foundation and changed the Clemant Family forever by bringing an Autism partner dog into their lives. Autism partner dogs are trained to provide comfort and guidance and that is exactly what “Bennie” is doing for the Clemant family.

”He’s larger then we thought he would be but he’s fits right in with the craziness of our family everyday,” says Monique.

Bennie has been with the Clemant’s for more than a year now. Jim says it’s made a difference watching his sons play free now. He also sees that the interaction between Bennie and his sons makes a huge difference in their lives.

Gina Crist, Bennie’s trainer says, “The dog naturally reduces anxiety, stress and blood pressure in the child.” Gina’s main goal is to get the families used to Autism partner dogs.

The Clemant family is thankful for Bennie and Monique says he will be a part of her children’s lives for many years to come, and will always live up to his title of boy’s best friend.

If your interested in the program or have a child struggling with autism. You can call “The North Star Program” at 843-449-0554.

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