Make A Wish

K9 Kris

K9:  Kris
Operations: Autism
Breed: Golden Retreiver

K9 Kris a true K9 hero and here is his story:

Kris was paired with a young girl with Autism as well as a heart condition and was trained in partnership with The Children's Wish Foundation Manitoba and Nunavut Chapter. To say Kris helped this young girl and her family is an understatement - through the surgeries, the Autism and keeping her safe Kris is a true superhero K9. Kris allowed the family go out for some firsts - a movie, Disney Land, Hospital stays and go in public spaces without fear of her bolting or emotional outbursts. Kris is truly a one of a kind service dog and MSAR was proud to have assisted such a wonderful family and change a young girl's life.

Kris then retired with his original trainer George Leonard on a large acreage and loving his retirement and free time. Kris has also started to weekly visit a seniors home where he is a treasured guest and loves the pats and cuddles.

Kris’s favourite thing to do is still go out and be a service dog by visiting seniors and sick children and training up and coming service dogs.  Kris also liked his hats that he would wear in the winter - to say he was loved by people is an understatement. An amazing dog that had a huge I’m,pact on a family and is a true hero —— "Kris is the best dog in the world” is the song that his trainer would sing to him daily with his hugs and kisses.

When a one of a kind service dog is needed to help a young child, MSAR isK9 Kris contacted to assist and here is the amazing story.

Here is one of our MSAR family members sharing their story of having a service dog - Kris (K-9) was trained for our little angel. K-9 Kris was trained by Certified Master Dog Trainer George Leonard.

Partnering with a The Children's Wish Foundation helped to expand Katarina's life.

From before our oldest child was born, we knew she was a one of a kind person. An early ultrasound showed that she had a severe heart defect and further testing confirmed that she had a genetic syndrome so unique, it doesn't even have a name. The many specialists who saw her after she was born advised us that they didn't think she would have a high quality of life. Despite that, we wanted to give our daughter every fighting chance at life so we flew to Edmonton where Katharina underwent open heart surgery at 1 week of age.

Fast forward a few years and our daughter who we were initially told may never breathe on her own, sit up or feed herself now loves running and jumping and playing with her younger sister and brother. Much research has been done in the rare genetic community and we have since learned that it is common for children with her syndrome to have autism.

A few years ago we began noticing many traits in Katharina that are similar to autism, some of which were making it difficult for her to be out in new or crowded places safely. After some research, we found out about the organization, MSAR who train service dogs for people with all kinds of disabilities, including autism. The Children's Wish Foundation teamed up with MSAR to bring Katharina's service dog, Kris, into her life.

MSAR provides customized training for the dog and the individual being served. They also provide ongoing support and training as the needs of the individual change. The team is selected very intentionally and a lot of thought goes into making the perfect match. During an initial meeting with some of the trainers, they told us about a child and dog team who had visited Ikea without any meltdowns. That seemed like a lofty goal but a mere 2 months after Kris came to live with us I took Katharina and her dog to the store to see how we would do. We made it through the whole store! I had blinked back many tears in stores out of frustration and defeat but this was the first time I had tears of joy and relief in my eyes. We've since gone to the zoo, movie theatre, amusement parks and even the symphony as a family!

MSAR gives people hope for a brighter future. I know Katharina has huge potential for independence now that she has Kris by her side. We have been so blessed by this organization that truly cares for the people they serve and the dogs they train. We know that they will always be here for us.