A Moray dog breeder is donating her animals to a very worthy cause – to be four-legged supports for autistic children throughout the region.
Lynda Hall breeds labradors in her Knockando home and is working in partnership with autism charity Friendly Access to find more children in need of a comforting best friend.
She donates them to families in need because she can see how vital they can be in a child’s adolescent life.
“The dogs can become very important to some children,” she said.
“A dog asks no questions, doesn’t judge them and is a friend regardless of what happens.”
Angela Drummond, an administrator at Friendly Access, has seen first hand how much a pet can help in family life.
Her son Grant, 14, suffers from autism and received a dog from Lynda one and a half years ago.
Mrs Drummond cannot believe how much progress he has made, thanks to help from his loveable furry friend Tyson.
She said: “If you look at Grant you wouldn’t realise he had a disability, as he looks and sounds like just a normal teenager.
“That is the problem with autism as its a hidden disability.
“Grant suffers from very bad anxiety when surrounded by crowds and strangers but Tyson has helped him immensely with this.
“When we go to a shop he accompanies us and when a stranger approaches and asks the dog’s name, Grant actually tells them it, which is a huge thing for him as it is something that never normally would have happened.”
Grant can sometimes struggle with everyday tasks, like ordering food, and Mrs Drummond believes that Tyson has been a huge positive influence on his life.
She said: “When we go to McDonalds, Grant always orders a plain vegetable burger and when it comes out wrong, he has a meltdown.
“Last week when this happened, he stayed remarkably calm and told me what was wrong and that we had to get it replaced, which again was a change for him.”
Any families who think their autistic child would benefit from a dog should contact either Friendly Access or Lynda Hall at LyndaHall3@Icloud.com.