How a service dog changed the life of a 6-year-old - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How a service dog changed the life of a 6-year-old

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A heartfelt message from a Chattanooga firefighter after the community stepped up to help his son, living with autism. 

Channel 3 first introduced you to Noah Phillips in 2015, when firefighters came together to help raise money to give the then 4-year-old a service dog. 

"My name is Noah and this is my dog Cinna," Noah said "He has a half Golden Retriever and a half golden Lab." 

Cinna is a service dog, specifically trained for Noah. 

Noah's dad, Skyler Phillips, said the world can be overwhelming for the now 6-year-old living with autism. 

"One of Noah's biggest challenges is his anxiety level and Cinna just being around him, Cinna has decreased his anxiety level just tremendously," he added. 

A pairing that would not have been possible without help from the Chattanooga community who helped raise the $15,000 needed for Cinna. 

Cinna is trained to do a variety of things but one of the most critical is using the canine's sense of smell. 

If Noah ever goes missing, Cinna can use Noah's scent to track him down. 

Cinna is also trained to help Noah if he gets upset, which sometimes happens when he gets overwhelmed. 

For some who live with autism, communicating with those around them is difficult. Phillips says, having Cinna out in public helps too. 

"Asking someone 'Can I pet your dog,' it forces Noah into, 'Why yes you can.' And then they say,'Well what's his name?' So it forces that communication back and forth," he added. 

It's all to help give the 6-year-old a better quality of life. 

And for this father, seeing the community's generosity, is almost too much for words. 

"I'm not one to ask for help. I knew that this was bigger than I could handle and to actually see the people who were so willing to do it," Phillips said, "It was just awesome."

You can learn more about the training Cinna received by clicking HERE

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