United Services for Children unites dogs and children with autis - KMOV.com

United Services for Children unites dogs and children with autism

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Chip (Credit: KMOV) Chip (Credit: KMOV)
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

It's a joint effort in St. Charles County to help kids get the confidence they need with the help of a special puppy who is working hard right to fill that role.    

At roughly 6 months old, Chip, a chocolate lab, is in the midst of training to become a service dog.

"A typical day is we wake up start training about 7 a.m., train till 6:30, maybe then go out for a little adventure to cool off, go for a swim, go to the store," said dog trainer Miranda Matuszeski.

After training, Chip will be ready to help children with physical and developmental disabilities, like down syndrome and autism, at United Services for children in St. Peters. The non-profit works with kids from birth through 8 years old.

"A lot of children with autism are in their own world,” said Denise Liebel, President and CEO of United Services for Children. “Our job is to try and find a way into that world and introduce them to ours. I believe with Chip as the newest member of our team, we improve our possibility of doing that."

Chip will also be a cheerleader for children going through occupational and physical therapy.

"We see this as an amazing addition to our staff," said Liebel.

That addition is all thanks to the generosity of two O'Fallon, Missouri businesses -- the Pet Doctor, a veterinary service, and the Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa, which also provides training.

"Chip is going through intensive training, we are providing overnight accommodations, pet doctor is providing vet care, grooming, food, spa needs,” said Jessica Cooke, Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa owner.

In about a year to a year and a half, Chip will be full-time with the children, providing comfort and companionship that only a furry, four-legged friend can do.

In addition to the donations from Yuppy Puppy and the Pet Doctor, workers at Boeing also donated to their employee community fund to help offset some of Chip's costs.

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