When Akito was 7 years, he was a “bolter”. If he started to run away, his Dog Guide was trained to plant herself on the ground to keep him safe.
Having a Dog Guide in the home has been life-changing for their family, including Akito’s sister.
People used to give our family dirty looks. It’s an invisible disability. You don’t look at him and realize right away that Akito has Autism. Having a service dog has helped with people’s opinions in general.
Mochi provides Akito with emotional support, expanding what they are able to do as a family. Akito’s father Sean has seen the difference firsthand.
In Akito’s case, it’s hard to make friends. Mochi gives him confidence. People will come up and approach him because they’re interested in learning about his dog. That’s very important, because Autistic people want to be part of things, they’re just not always included.