An angelic hand

Despite the best efforts of local districts, school can be a harrowing place for students on the autism spectrum. Bullying and exclusion from social circles can affect those for whom social interaction is the most difficult. To meet the needs of these students, Agility Angels pairs a child or teen with a trained  dog and, for one-hour a week, helps them to take the dog through various agility courses. “For so many of these kids, this is one of the limited social outlets they have,” says Terry McLeary, secretary for the organization, explaining the value of these classes. Agility Angels has also started offering an employment-centric class once a week where the organization consults employment agencies and offers its students real-world work opportunities in dog training. “The transformation that we're seeing in some of these kids is truly phenomenal,” McLeary says of the impact. Agility Angels is a volunteer organization supported by the local dog training community as well as volunteer coaches who work directly with the students. To get involved as a coach or to enroll your child, visit for applications or call 419-377-3102. —BA