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CLEAR LAKE, IA – We’ve been following the story of a north Iowa family who has learned to cope with autism after both of their children were diagnosed.
The Maulsby family has overcome plenty of hurdles throughout the past few years but it seems now, there is improvement, and it’s all thanks to a very special donation and addition to their family.
Chloe was always destined to be a service dog.
She was born in Clear Lake, and sent to California for extensive training, but something was wrong with the pup.
“At about 7 months when she went in for her preliminary checks to make sure she was healthy, they discovered a heart murmur,” says Debbie Kern.
Because of that, Chloe couldn’t finish her training.
So she came back to Iowa, to live with her owner at the time, Debbie Kern. Kern runs an organization called Patriots for Pets and planned to keep Chloe when she returned to north Iowa.
That’s when the Maulsby family got wind of the partially trained service dog.
“Christina came out with the kids and met Chloe and it was amazing to watch how much of Chloe’s natural abilities were coming out, it had been 6 months since she had been in training,” says Kern.
Chloe did some trial visits to the Maulsby’s including an overnight stay where Christina Maulsby says for the first time in her son’s life, he slept through the night in his own bed.
It was clear Chloe and Quentin were meant to be together.
So Kern and her organization donated the dog to the family.
“All of her natural instincts were towards autism and probably 80% of her training is natural, she wasn’t taught to follow the child or how to calm the child, that’s all natural instincts,” adds Kern.
Chloe helps Quentin with his therapy exercises and makes sure he’s always in sight, she’s even trained to follow him if he wanders away.
Some of the specialized training is because of Jocelyn Hartwell, a dog trainer who has been working with Chloe for about a month.
“It’s all progressive reinforcement. We’re doing things that will help them bond as well as help him in life,” says Hartwell
The pup is in the process of learning how to ring certain bells when walking outdoors or into Quentin’s room.
Hartwell says the training will really never be done, as Quentin grows older, his needs will change.
But she says for now, their special bond is growing.
“When I first came, Quentin didn’t want anything to do with her and she didn’t care about him either, they just ignored each other and now they absolutely adore each other and want to play, there’s a lot of good changes,” says Hartwell.
Quentin’s specialized nannies who work with him on his various therapies says they’ve seen an immense change since Chloe joined the family.
“When they learn to do things together that makes the bond grow and as far as Quentin’s therapies, he’s really progressed,” says Aria Asbe-Snyder one of the people who work closely with Quentin.
“I think it’s amazing how she came about this and how I think every day it’s going to get better and better,” says Cara Roeder who also works daily with Quentin.