Service dog helps autistic girl at school

BLAINE, MINNESOTA (NBC) —  A Minnesota family with an autistic daughter found a way to bring out the best in their child, with the help of a four-legged friend.

In some ways Sophie Reither is a typical 6th grader.  She is described by her mother as silly, adventurous and headstrong.

There is another word, however, that has defined her life more than others, and that is autism.

Through most of her elementary years, Sophia did not speak to her teachers or fellow students. She was prone to tantrums and aggressive behavior.

Her first year of junior high was completely different and everyone agrees that the reason is Rylee, Sophia’s new assistance dog.

Rylee goes to every class with Sophia and immediately lays down underneath  her desk.

When the 11-year-old is struggling with a subject, becoming anxious or stressed or needs reassurance, relief is close at hand with Rylee.

“When I feel overwhelmed,” Sophia said, “She comes next to me and visits, puts her head on my leg.”

The Reither’s found Rylee through an organization called “Can Do Canines,” an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International.