Lone Star Chapter

South Central Region

Adam O'Day and his family

Meet Adam and Skilled Companion Tyler.

The O'Days are an active family living in Southlake. Anna, a Registered Nurse at an endoscopy clinic, is originally from Colorado Springs. Mike currently works for Corning Inc and hails from a large farm in Northeast Missouri; he served 7 years of active duty as a Field Artillery Officer in the Army. Thank you Mike for your service! They have three children and a 14 year old Beagle named Jack. Their eldest, Rachel, is a busy 17 year old who runs cross country and track, plays soccer, and works at Old Navy in her spare time! Adam is a 14 year old sports loving Freshmen at Keller High School who plays football and wrestles for the school. He also participates in two fantasy football leagues and is the commissioner of one! Zac, their youngest, is 11 years old and is continuing the O'Day love of sports. He plays football and baseball plus he is the musician in the family. Zac plays guitar! The family is also very active in their church (The Hills Church of Christ) participating in youth groups and retreats.

The O'Day family

Mike learned about Canine Companions through a colleague at Corning in 2010. He was on the board of the South East Region of Canine Companions and knew that the O'Day's had a son (Adam) with Autism. He was confident that one of our wonderful dogs could help improve Adam's quality of life. Adam has Asperger‘s, which makes it hard for him to communicate well. As a result he struggles socially and has grown up with a lot of frustration. Anna and Mike hoped that an assistance dog would give their son a "best friend" that would provide unconditional love to help him through life. So they began the application process and anxiously waited to get the call inviting them to attend team training.

Tyler crashes on Adam

In May 2013 Adam, Anna and Anna's Mom (Beth) attended Team Training in Oceanside, California. Adam met his soulmate, Skilled Companion dog Tyler. The match with Adam and Tyler was destined to work because Tyler was raised in Texas! His puppy raiser is Jennifer Murphy (and family) from Plano. Tyler is there when Adam goes off to school in the morning and waits for his best friend to come home at night. Tyler was trained to perform a special command called "crash" where he lays on Adam to produce deep pressure thereby relieving stress. He also performs "nudge“ where Tyler pushes his nose into Adam’s leg/hand or arm to redirect him from something that may be frustrating for him. Tyler goes places with Adam and his family like restaurants, social events and family vacations. He is a great traveler and has been to Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, Arizona, California and many places in Texas. At all these public venues, many people ask about Tyler and his working dog status. Consequently, Adam has gained comfort in talking with strangers. He proudly introduces Tyler and shows them a few commands. This has really helped Adam socially and made him more confident when interacting with people.

The entire O'Day family is part of our special Canine Companions family and they generously give of their time to help spread the word about our organization. They attend many events and routinely offer to speak at functions about the benefits of having Tyler as Adams Skilled Companion dog.

Please join us in thanking Adam and his family for sharing their story and for being so actively involved with Canine Companions for Independence!