As featured in the 4 Paws for Ability 2019 Annual Report
Nolan Streit was diagnosed with Autism at age two. “Nolan as always been smart, loving, and full of life,” explains Kristen Streit, “[he] has always had a lot of energy…and is fast!” This speed soon became the biggest issue for Nolan’s safety as he continued to get older. After having many instances of Nolan running off and one very frightening incident where he escaped a beach house while on vacation, the family decided it was time to get Nolan a service dog before something terrifying happened.
With encouragement from Nolan’s grandparents,
the family officially began their 4 Paws journey in 2016. A small crew of dedicated friends and supporters sold wreaths, jewelry, and more to collect donations for their cause. The Streit family was truly blown away by the support and generosity they received from their community. That support of course culminated in Nolan meeting his service dog, Isles.
While Nolan was unsure of Isles and her role in his life at first, thankfully, this uncertainty did not last between the two, and they slowly began to bond and become buddies. It wasn’t always easy, but Kristen says that Isles has been patient and persistent through it all.
Isles has completely changed Nolan’s life as well as his family’s. Isles has given Nolan confidence and independence. He recovers from uncertain situations and meltdowns in minutes instead of hours. Isles can calm and distract Nolan by nuzzling him and grounding his world, when it seems out of control. The Streit family is now able to go into public places without a stroller, without fear of Nolan disappearing. Recently, they were able to visit Disney and Universal for multiple days without having to use a stroller. Rather, Nolan walked confidently with Isles by his side. The family is also reassured by the fact that if Nolan were to ever run off again, Isles will find him as they regularly practice her tracking skills to find Nolan.
The bond between Nolan and Isles has continued to grow with their time together. Isles is extremely aware of when she is needed and what Nolan’s routine is. Nolan often pats Isles on the head and tell Isles, “You’re cute,” and enjoys throwing Isles a tennis ball. While these steps may seem small, this is huge for Nolan. The Streit family is extremely grateful for everyone involved in the 4 Paws family. Isles has, “given our family a life we never thought possible,” and they look forward to Nolan and Isles making many more memories together.