A puppy for Brody

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Brody Griffin and Millo share a special moment together. A golden retriever, Millo is a highly trained service dog whose specialty is assisting children with autism. Brody, the adopted son of Wendy and Bubba Griffin of Lewisburg, has been diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome, which is the most common gene cause of autism. Millo, who responds to 70 commands, helps to calm Brody and to give him an alternative for the repetitive and sometimes harmful behaviors associated with autism.

Brody Griffin is making his way through the house, a tiny whirlwind of constant noise and activity.

Tethered to the moving tornado of a boy is a golden retriever whose languid movements stand in marked contrast to the movements of the boy. With his sorrowful, lovely eyes, Millo is the calm in the eye of the storm. He's literally Brody's anchor.

Millo, pronounced as with the spelling Milo, is a highly trained service dog. His specialty is assisting an autistic child, and his particular specialty is Brody. He's only been in the Griffins' home for 10 days. One-year-old Millo and his almost 5-year-old owner are just getting used to each other.

Millo was trained over many months by Tiffany Denyer of Wilderwood Service Dogs in Maryville, Tenn., one of the five places in North America to perform this service for autistic children. Millo was trained specifically to fit Brody's needs, and the child's scent was used to train Millo to work with him and to even be able to track him if necessary.

See Wednesday's Tribune for the complete story.