Meet the Autism Service Dogs Training at ACA

By Sydney Starr

The Charter Features – 3/11/19

Student trainer Grana Khan and ACA administrator/ trainer Jill Mohr in front of ACA with the dogs they are currently training; Stella and Temple.

You’ve likely seen two adorable white/golden dogs strutting around campus sporting green ASDA (Autism Service Dogs of America) vests — who are they?

Stella

Stella is a two-year-old labrador, poodle, and golden retriever mix. Trainer Jill Mohr remarks, “Stella is a more bold, curious, loving Labradoodle.” And Grana Khan, a student trainer, says a quirk of Stella’s is,   “…when she runs, her ears go up like elephant ears.”  

Temple

Temple is a two-year-old english cream golden retriever. “Temple has one of the absolute biggest smiles ever…” comments Khan. And Mohr adds “Temple is a sweet, gentle, soft temperamented Golden Retriever.”


Mohr and Khan train dogs through ASDA, an organization that specializes in training dogs to be autism service dogs. Mohr says, “It takes 2-3 years to get a service dog ready.” She adds “It is very hard work, but very rewarding.” Khan says that she plans on doing this for the rest of her life.

Khan says, “Everyone at ACA kind of has their part in helping train the dogs.” And Mohr says it’s important that the dogs train at ACA because, “Almost all of the dogs will be going to school with their new child. It is important that the dogs feel comfortable in all school environments so that they can effectively support the child they are working with.”

And even though it can be tempting to run over and give one of the dogs a pet, Mohr reminds us that “…these dogs are not pets.  They are working dogs and so it is important that if you see a service dog in a vest, that you do not attempt to pet or distract the dog from their work.”


Sources:

Khan, Grana. Personal Interview. March 4 and 6, 2019.

Mohr, Jill. Personal Email Interview. March 6, 2019.