Since receiving their Assistance Dog Logan in 2015, the Jansen family have been able to navigate developing changes in their son Reuben’s behaviour thanks to the loyalty, companionship, and consistency of their four-pawed friend.
At 19 years old, Reuben still struggles with the challenges of autism and multiple disabilities, finding even the slightest change difficult. With Logan at his side, Reuben has been calmer and more confident, attending appointments and haircuts with relative ease (something that wasn’t possible before Logan arrived). As one of his only friends, Logan helps make life a little less lonely, ensuring Reuben always has a buddy nearby to provide comfort and unconditional love when times are tough.
The pair’s development over the past 7 years has seen them move from a tethering role, where Logan was able to anchor Reuben down and provide safety, to Reuben walking his dog independently. Now he actively seeks his dog out to walk, cuddle and play with. Each morning he wakes up and greets Logan, and every night he gives him kisses and cuddles - affection reserved exclusively for his best friend. For parents Michele and Nico, seeing their son interact with his dog and find friendship and connection has been wonderful, and the bond between the two has become stronger and stronger over the years. Reuben sees Logan as a family member that goes everywhere with him – and it’s clear Logan thinks the same!
This year Reuben developed seizures and other changes in his behaviour, and Logan has continued to provide support and consistency throughout. When Reuben comes out of a seizure, his dog is lying there at his side, comforting him as he recovers. This makes life a little less scary and helps Reuben’s family through these new challenges. When stress is high, Logan is always there to offer a cuddle for those that need it, and a calming presence in the house.
When Logan first arrived at the Jansen household – his impact was dramatic and helped them accomplish tasks they couldn’t do before. 7 years later, he provides consistency for the family, allowing them to continue supporting their son and helping Reuben to navigate the many changes he encounters as he gets older. The “life-changing transformational” moments are fewer, but the continued impact of their son’s companion and best friend are still immeasurable.