TILLY is now a fully-fledged member of the Bennett family as the start of a lifelong bond with little Luke forms before the eyes of his delighted friends and family.
The family of Luke Bennett, of Demontfort Way, Uttoxeter, spent just over a month raising the vital funds needed to bring the specially-trained pooch over from Ireland in a bid to help the four-year-old, who has autism, develop further.
After a short trip to Ireland where his mother Andrea and father Paul were trained to look after Tilly and continue with her training, the pooch is now making herself at home in the Bennett household.
His 38-year-old mother told The Advertiser that welcoming Tilly into the family was going well and she was helping to keep Luke calm when he became upset.
She said: “Things went amazingly well with training.
“We are enjoying watching the beginnings of a lovely life-long bond developing between Luke and Tilly.
“We want to thank everyone who’s helped make this possible to bring them together. Tilly is very lovely and sweet, so perfect for Luke.”
The family raised 4,858 euros with the help of friends, family, residents and even Thomas Alleyne’s High School so Luke could be united with Tilly and their efforts have not been in vain as they watch a friendship form between them.
Luke was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) last February after his parents noticed some unusual behaviour.
The youngster has a tendency to be a ‘bolter’ and with no awareness of danger or strangers.
He can also become over-stimulated in crowded areas which can cause him to throw tantrum.
The family heard about the success rate of the dogs in helping children with autism in calming them down in stressful situations and can act as an anchor when they try to bolt.
After telling her story to the Advertiser, Mrs Bennett and her family were inundated with support as the people dug deep to help them reach their target, some stores even donating toys and dog food.