INSPIRING STORY OF THE WEEK
LABS ‘N LIFE
by Ashley Howland
Labs ‘n Life is a special program that comes to us from ‘down under’. Some of the dogs in this program go on to be placed with young people with special needs, often children on the autism spectrum. The other dogs stay in the program and continue to work with at risk youth. Every student experiences something different, but they all have one thing in common. Working with the dogs enables them to be successful. And that is exactly why Labs ‘N Life is such an inspiring story.
Experiencing success is a powerful feeling, especially when it’s a new experience. The dogs give them this every week, because they love to work. The students are learning how to train a dog, not for themselves, but for someone else. This achievement gives them a sense of pride and self worth, something they often have not felt before. They become uplifted by the knowledge that they can do something wonderful that has a positive effect on the lives of others.
Students of all ages achieve success at Labs ‘n Life
“These dogs make miracles happen every day by being there and simply being themselves. It’s incredible to watch the growth seen in the students in this program.”
One of Ashley’s first students now holds down his first real job, but at one time they all doubted that he would finish school. One day after being suspended for fighting, the principal told him to do one more thing before leaving school. He had to go to Ashley and explain why he was suspended. It turned out that he punched a kid who had teased him about his English accent. Ashley just asked him one question. “What does your dog Rigger do when the puppies are annoying him?” When the student replied, “He walks away!” Ashley said no more.
A few weeks later Ashley’s student came running back in after lunch. The same child had tried to abuse him again, but this time he didn’t react. He felt great and the best part was that the abuse stopped because there was no reaction.
In her story, Labs ‘n Life, Ashley tells of the ups and downs in her program, but far more ups than downs.
This story is now published in
Tales2Inspire ~ The Ruby Collection