Making family life possible

Emily & Oslo

Emily was diagnosed with autism at two and half years old. As she grew, the challenges she experienced meant being together as a family was increasingly difficult, which was isolating for everyone.

Emily doesn’t feel safe outdoors and feels extremely uncomfortable wearing clothes and shoes. Emily and her twin sister Olivia’s different needs meant that the family ended up, as many families with autistic children do, doing things separately. One parent would take out Olivia, while the other stayed home with Emily.

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... Emily’s autism meant those things were almost entirely closed off to us.
— Steven, Emily’s Dad

POSITIVE CONNECTION: When everything seemed a struggle, and nothing seemed to connect, Oslo managed to build a bridge.

While Emily found it a struggle to form positive connections with humans, it was clear from an early age that she bonds closely with animals. Since specially trained family autism dog Oslo arrived, things have changed massively.

She’s really happy being with him and the other day, she even sat down beside him to give him a cuddle. For a non-cuddly child, that’s a big thing and a clear demonstration of her bond with him.
Oslo’s brought the family together, now Emily feels able to leave the house and her speech has come on so much.
Steve, Emily’s Dad
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’.
She wasn’t ever great at getting up but now, we send Oslo into her bedroom in the morning armed with sniffs and licks and all we hear is Emily giggling. Obviously a far better way for her to start the day. We go for walks, or even day trips. They’re simple things but things we’d never have been able to do before Oslo came into our lives.
Dogs like Oslo open doors, they connect people, they keep families together, they help make life possible in so many ways. A gift this winter will enable more people to benefit from our dogs.

Support our winter appeal to enable more people to make life possible