A fetching new friend
By Andrea Brown, The Gazette
His younger siblings have play dates and sleepovers with friends. Not 15-year-old Micah Weishaar. He can’t go to the mailbox unsupervised.
Enter a yellow Lab named Rama. The dog is easing barriers for the nonverbal teen with autism and Down syndrome. “We wanted Micah to have a best friend,” said his father, Marc. “We wanted Rama to be able to fill that void in his life.”
Rama breaks the isolation caused by Micah’s disabilities, said his mother, Dayna.
“A lot of times people won’t approach Micah. They’re afraid, for whatever reason. With Rama, it’s a natural bridge.”
Rama teamed up with Micah three months ago. He came from Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization based in California that pairs disabled people with dogs at no cost. “The dogs help children with autism stay focused and calm down,” said spokeswoman Karyl Carmignani.