Cocker spaniel ‘changed life’ of autistic boy with rare brain condition

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    “As soon as he saw her, there were stars in his eyes,” mum Hayley recalls. 

    “We’d never seen that before. He used to sit in the corner and rock ‑ he didn’t want you to interact with him, he didn’t want to be around you. He just wanted to be left alone.

    “But this tiny little puppy made him smile and grin ‑ all of these emotions that we’d never actually seen from him. And we knew within a couple of weeks that we’d lost our falconry dog ‑ Fern was going to be his dog.”

    The transformation in Leon from the day he met his favourite dog was incredible. 

    “He didn’t speak before Fern. You can’t shut him up now,” Hayley laughs. 

    “She’s been the key to his door; unlocking his little world.”

    The family found a special trainer for Fern so that she could be more of an assistance dog for Leon ‑ a role she seemed naturally cut out for right from the start.



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