Dog is new best friend for autistic Bury teenager

4:59pm Monday 2nd June 2014

By David Thomson

BUDDY the labrador retriever is proving a “top dog” by allowing a Bury teenager with autism to enjoy much greater independence.

Thanks to his new canine companion, Josh Lord will be able to ride on public transport without being chap-eroned and also take his new friend to Rossen-dale School with him.

The 15-year-old’s mum, Jane, says Buddy is Bury’s first-ever service dog. Now, she is appealing for people for help to meet training costs for Buddy.

Mrs Lord received Buddy last September, when he was just eight weeks old. Buddy underwent an initial three weeks of training with Service Dogs Europe so he could obey basic commands. In July, the dog will go through a further eight weeks of training.

The mother-of-six, of Kingsdale Close, said: “Having Buddy means Josh can get out and about more and socialise. Buddy is going to massively reduce Josh’s anxieties and really boost his social skills and be a real friend to him.

“People with autism find making friends very difficult. The dog is trained to go on buses and if Josh wants to go on one, then he can now do that. It also means he can go into other places, like restaurants.

“Hopefully, the main benefit will be to Josh’s independence. Josh loves him and Buddy is his best friend.

“We want to get more such dogs for people to help make their lives a whole lot easier.”

Training and other costs will amount to £10,000. Fundraising and other events have helped Mrs Lord meet more than half of that.

Mrs Lord, a lecturer in health and social care, added: “We’ve still got to raise £3,700 and we’d be grateful for any help and also for fundraising for other service dogs.”

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