Two weeks ago in an Escondido backyard, Erika Shawver witnessed something she never thought she’d see: Her 3-year-old son Caiden went for a swim.
Caiden has a sensory-processing disorder. Over the past year or so, every time Erika took her son to a pool for paid lessons, he’d end up in hysterics, fearful of the water, of being touched or being approached by an instructor.
Then Caiden met Cori.
Cori is a 1-year-old golden/Labrador retriever mix in training to become a certified water rescue dog. Cori offers “canine assistance” to swimming instructors, which means she can make pool time fun, educational and less scary for children with special needs.
As soon as Cori leapt into the swimming pool with Caiden that day, the boy’s anxieties over strangers, being touched, noise and other sensory issues washed away.
“He can get overwhelmed so easily, so I was shocked when I saw how quickly he responded to Cori,” …