This article from BBC News discusses the benefits to having a dog at home. There's a book A friend like Henry that supports the strategy, too. When I taught in a self-contained functional skills classroom, we had therapy dogs visit weekly. Most of the children enjoyed the visit by the dog and found it very soothing. For those with tactile defensiveness, it took a while for them to approach and pat the dogs. However, after while, they did enjoy patting the dogs.
Angela Sutton, Special Education Teacher and Autism Specialist