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Lilly & Family

Lilly had a rough start in life. Before joining Jess & Esther’s family, Lilly already had at least two previous homes and spent some time in a rescue center. When Lilly entered their house Esther and Jess were really struggling.

“Getting Jess to leave the house was extremely difficult and Esther refused to walk… both have autism and Esther has other additional needs. I could see that Lilly was supporting the girls so I wanted to train Lilly fully so we could gain public access so Lilly could help outside of the home.” Say Diane, Lilly’s owner & mum of Esther and Jess. "As an older dog joining the Pawsitive Squad assistance dog program, we didn’t know how well this lovely jack Russell terrier cross breed would adapt to her brand-new role, but Lilly loves it! From her first assessment, we could see what a gentle yet confident and easy to train dog she is. The bond she has to her ‘two-legged siblings’ is beautiful. She has the perfect temperament for this type of assistance work and has flourished thanks to the family’s commitment to her training."

Lilly is such great proof that older dogs and rescue dogs can offer so much. Lilly makes a huge difference to both children. I’ve loved watching Lilly and the children grow and develop into this amazing team. Nothing can stop them now!

Lilly has learnt new tasks very quickly – she has learnt to do dual handling, where she walks on two leads, one held by their mum and the other held by the younger of the children. This helps to keep Esther safe, encouraging her to keep walking when she is starting to get tired, ensuring she doesn’t wander off when distracted and makes sure that Esther doesn’t walk out into roads as Lilly is taught to refuse to cross the road until a specific command is given by mum. Lilly also does deep pressure therapy and ‘reverse pressure’ to help both children calm down when they are feeling overwhelmed. Although Lilly is a light dog, the children still find the deep pressure very helpful, allowing them to block out everything around them and focus just on Lilly. Lilly does other tasks to assist the children including finding both children if they become distressed and run away or hide.

“Lilly is a life changer for us as a family.” Says mum, Diane “She helps us to get out as a family, we have managed to get Esther walking and going forward this will increase. Both girls are able to use DPT for supporting their regulation and anxiety.”

Since qualifying on the 12th of June 2020, Lilly has been supporting the girls to access places they would usually struggle to go to such as shops including Asda, Tesco and sports direct to help and has been using her tasks to help her young handlers cope and be safe in those environments. They’ve also been away on holiday together, exploring lots of lovely new campsites and doing lots of exploring around national trust places. Lilly and their family have also had a lovely trip to the seaside in which they went into a caf√© where Lilly demonstrated her perfect settle.

“Having an assistance dog is life-changing for us. Knowing we can take Lilly pretty much anywhere means a massive reduction in refusing to leave the house and an instant calming through DPT when overload. Says Mum, Diane “Not to mention getting E to walk via duel handling. Before we were reliant on a buggy, now we know we can push for some walking and independence."

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