Kyan and his service dog Mikey have been training together for two weeks. (Contributed)

Autism service dog to graduate in Kelowna

The graduation ceremony will take place at the Orchard Mall in Kelowna on Thursday

An autism service dog team will officially graduate from B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs in Kelowna this week.

A young boy named Kyan will graduate with his new autism support dog, Mikey, after two weeks of working one-on-one with autism support instructor Michelle Murray.

READ MORE: Province to invest $2 million for mental health programs

B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs breeds, raises and trains autism support dogs that are provided to children ages 3-10 with moderate to profound autism.

These certified support dogs are provided, along with training and aftercare support, at no cost to families for the working life of the dog, typically for eight years.

For Kyan’s family, an autism support dog means safety and security but is also valuable support for his interacting with other children.

“Some kids with ASD are lonely and have difficulty making friends,” said Kyan’s father Rick.

“Mikey is so lovable and Kyan is warming up to him quite quickly.

“We see him and Kyan being best buds and also being a great primer for other kids to meet and interact with Kyan.”

Mikey will be the family’s second autism support dog from B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs.

Kyan’s brother Dylan was placed with an autism support dog, Logan, back in 2008 as the organization’s second graduate in B.C.

“Our kids were tirelessly supported and protected by Logan who was the nucleus of our pod everywhere we went,” Rick continued.

“Mikey has huge paws to fill and in just a short week we are reminded of the magic of these special dogs and amazing program.”

Kyan and his father Rick were on hand at the Orchard Shopping Centre on Thursday to share the impact of receiving an autism support dog.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan adds 3,600 jobs in July: Statistics Canada

The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 10 per cent in July

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Water service down in Lake Country

The water main break is expected to be fixed by 4 p.m. today

Water quality advisory issued for Killiney Beach

The precautionary advisory comes due to turbidity in the water system source

Vernon social justice group rallies to raise awareness for human trafficking victims

Indigenous women make up 4 per cent of Canadian population, 50 per cent of trafficking victims

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Evacuation alert for 43 homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Fundraiser launched for West Kelowna family who lost their home to fire

The family’s Sunview Drive home was destroyed after an accidental fire on Aug. 6

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. health minister applauds Kelowna Mayor, council for COVID-19 outbreak response

‘I think they are a model of how we respond’ - said Health Minister Adrian Dix

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Most Read