State and Local News

Joplin Family Gifted New Service Dog

The Children’s Miracle Network, along with the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, are making life much easier for a Joplin Family. Laurae Howard and her 4-year-old son Isaac have a new forever friend and helper in 3-year-old Murphy, a black lab. Murphy is the family’s support dog and the benefits of the Howard’s new companion are amazing. And the connection between Murphy and Isaac is a special one.

Murphy is trained to care for children with Autism. Isaac can be tethered to Murphy to stay safe, help with waiting and calming support. When Isaac gets stressed, Murphy is there for support and love and deep pressure distraction of self-harming behavior with relaxing love and attention. Murphy is even trained to identify if Isaac is about to have a seizure.

Today was the final behavior evaluation for the Howard family to insure that Murphy is up to the task. That started with a full evaluation at the 7th Street Walmart in Joplin. Laurae started in the parking lot and showed how Murphy reacts to crowds and stressful, busy, situations. Walking up and down the aisles and among the people, even interaction with another service animal and Murphy and Laurae passed with flying colors.

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