A young boy who is partially sighted and has autism has a new pet assistance dog that will make a huge difference to his life.
The parents of Zack Addison, aged 11, from Johnstone, in Renfrewshire have been fundraising to buy the Fox Red Labrador puppy, which now needs to go through 18-months of training to become an assistance dog.
Now the intu Braehead Community Fund has donated £250 towards the cost of the specialist training to Kennel Club standards for Milo, who is ten weeks old.
Zack is a surviving twin and was born prematurely at 23 weeks weighing only 500 grammes.
Photo: From left, dad George Addison, Zack and his brother Luke, Lydia Brown from intu Braehead and Zack’s mum, Joanne with Milo Zack’s assistance dog
His dad, George explains: “Zack spent the first few months of his life in hospital and we’re very lucky to have him here today, as he wasn’t expected to survive. But against all the odds he did.
“Zack is partially sighted, is autistic and has sensory issues. Milo will be trained to look out for Zack, have a calming influence on him and provide companionship.
“Having an assistance dog will mean the world to Zack and give him something to concentrate on. Milo will give him greater independence both in and out of the home along with companionship.
“Zack can become excitable and get frustrated with himself, but he really calms down when he’s in Milo’s company and the dog has already had an amazing influence on Zack.
“We really appreciate the generosity of the team at intu Braehead and we can’t thank them enough for the donation that will go towards Milo’s training.”
Lydia Brown, intu Braehead’s community development manager said: “It’s amazing how assistance dogs can have such a positive effect on people’s lives.
“You can see that even as a puppy and still to be trained, Milo will become a great companion for Zack.”