A 6-month-old golden retriever leaps out of the white sedan onto the gravel driveway.
A few yards away, pasted on the front door of the Golden Gate Estates home, is a picture of a dog with a red heart drawn around it. “Welcome Falcon!” it states.
Slowly, Kathy Lowers leads her 3-year-old son Nate toward the dog with the wagging tail.
She puts her son’s hand on Falcon’s back and looks at Nate expectantly.
Nate doesn’t react.
At first he appears the same as his siblings – Abraham, 11; Victoria, 9; Catalina, 7; Isabella, 5; and Maggie, his twin, who all squeal in delight and crowd around the dog.
But when Nate was 2 1/2 he was diagnosed with a severe, regressive form of autism.
Call his name, he does not turn around; toss him a ball, he does not try to catch it; ask him a question and he does not answer.
PAWS for Love Assistance Dogs placed Falcon with Nate and his family July 9. The specially trained golden retriever was bred for five generations for his temperament and training abilities.