“She’s awesome!” says 12 year old Oliver of his assistance dog Rosie, “she’s made my life so much better.”
Oliver was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle-wasting condition for which there is no cure, at just three years old. “It’s such an awful condition,” says mum Lisa, “especially as it’s invisible at first.”
Gradually Oliver’s condition deteriorated and Lisa applied for an assistance dog.
“Life was so difficult for Oliver before Rosie came,” explains Lisa. “Mornings were harrowing. It was really difficult getting him up and motivating him to go to school. Now Rosie gets him up and the first thing I hear in the morning is Oliver’s giggles as Rosie jumps on his bed and encourages him to start the new day.”
Before Rosie arrived, Oliver was afraid to sleep alone downstairs so single mum Lisa spent a whole year sleeping on a mattress in his room. But when Rosie arrived she immediately slept alongside Oliver. “The confidence and reassurance Rosie gives Oliver at night means I’ve been able to sleep in my own bed now for over a year. Life is so much better with Rosie,” says Lisa, “her presence and the help she gives Oliver has totally changed my life too.”
Rosie collects the TV remote for Oliver, takes messages between him and Lisa, picks up anything he drops and helps take off his clothes.
Oliver used to feel lonely and hated going out in his power chair because he felt so self-conscious. He’s happy to go out now, chats to people about his special dog, and loves walks with Rosie in the park.
“I’m so proud of both of them,” says Lisa. “Rosie has transformed all our lives; she’s the last piece of our family jigsaw.”
Find out more about our assistance dogs for children.