The Winokur family did not understand what was wrong with their adopted son, Iyal, when he started developing disturbing behavior and assumed an explosive demeanor that left the entire family on edge. It brought the family little comfort to learn that their son most likely had fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition that causes intellectual impairment, poor judgment, impulsive behavior, social isolation, mental health problems and more, The New York Times
reports. What did bring the family relief was a golden retriever named Chancer.
After hearing how therapy dogs helped children on the autism spectrum, the Winokurs thought they would look into it. Working with 4 Paws, a therapy dog organization in Atlanta, Georgia, they began the process of finding a good match for their son.
The family was skeptical whether a therapy dog would have any impact, let alone a positive one, on Iyal, but much to their surprise, it did.
"Chancer was an emotional and physical anchor for a kid who was pretty lost in the world," Harvey Winokur, Iyal's adoptive father, told the publication.
The dog can bring the boy down from a tantrum and has even been known to ward them off entirely, the news outlet reports.
According to Therapy Dogs Internationa
l, canines are used in settings from schools to libraries to nursing homes to bring people comfort in a way that only dogs can.