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Autism assistance dog brings family together and changes young girl's life

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A family from Northamptonshire has revealed how an assistance dog not only transformed their daughter's way of life but also brought everyone closer together.

By Nick Whittle , 8 Apr 2020

Emily Chilvers was diagnosed with autism when she was two and half. Now six, her condition manifests itself in several ways, not least of all in Emily’s distaste of wearing clothes and shoes.

Emily’s condition was managed by her mum and dad Dawn and Steven, but in time, her relationship with sister Olivia was strained. This led to the two girls effectively being entertained separately, and limitations to the family's bonding.

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Writes the Northants Telegraph, Steven said, “It's the simple things that you miss.

“Reading social media posts from friends who have been doing fun stuff all together as a family; meals out, shopping, holidays etc.

"Emily's autism meant those things were almost entirely closed off to us.”

The arrival of Oslo

Dawn eventually contacted Dogs for Good, an Oxfordshire charity that provides highly-trained assistance dogs to families with disabled children and those with other life-limiting conditions.

The arrival of assistance Labrador Oslo was a game-changer.

He came for a visit with his instructor and Emily responded very positively to him straight away,” said Steven.

We've noticed that Emily’s speech has really come on. She will say ‘Oslo’, ‘hug’ and ‘doggy’ now as well as sentences such as ‘take Oslo for a walk’.

Now two years old, Oslo has even helped Emily with her motivation and tolerance to wear shoes and a coat before leaving the house.

"Simple things but things we'd never have been able to do before Oslo came into our lives and provided a positive focus for Emily,” said Steven.

 
Emily and Autism Assistance Dog Oslo - Dogs for Good

While we are all now discovering the reality of social isolation, imagine if not being able to go out to visit family and friends or go to the shops was your permanent reality. Our autism assistance dogs give families with a child with autism the freedom and confidence to go out, but demand for our services is at an all-time high. We need your help. Please donate if you can: https://bit.ly/2XeoHhF #AutismAwarenessWeek #WorldAutismDay

Posted by Dogs for Good - UK on Thursday, April 2, 2020