If you know someone with autism or who has children on the spectrum, then you'll know how hard it can be for them to adjust to life in the same way that everyone else can. They often require special care and a lot of patience when it comes to distressing situations.
Zachary Tucker from Colorado has Asperger's syndrome, which means he has a tough time relating to other children his age and his parents were at their wit's end when he kept refusing to let them touch him, or when he would have major tantrums in school that seemed unavoidable.
They were willing to try anything to get him open up, but they weren't expecting help from Chris Vogt. Probably because he was serving a 48-year prison sentence for second degree murder.
Vogt was charged in 1998, but his time inside has led him to starting prison work programs such as the Colorado Cell Dogs, which has inmates train local shelter dogs to act as service animals for the deaf and blind.
Vogt thought he could help Zachary, and no one was prepared for the change that came over the two of them.
Vogt spent his free time studying varying methods of training dogs, but also who they have the potential to help. That's when he read about Asperger's and the autism spectrum and realized this was another way that the other inmates could take their bad situation and help out someone who really needed it.
Here is Zachary with the service dog that Vogt trained in the video below.
“This is thing I get to do that gives back,” said Vogt. “Like Zach, and even all the kids, when they come in and work with me, they don’t get to see the murderer no more.”
Because of Vogt's dedication to his studies, he was able to help the dog pair with Zachary, and the boy's parents are overwhelmed with happiness for the way it has helped their family.