Graduation day looms for '˜life-changing' support dog Chester

A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy from Leeds whose 'life has been changed forever' by an autism assistance dog will see his pup graduate from a Yorkshire charity on Sunday.

Alex Duthrie and his support dog Chester
Alex Duthrie and his support dog Chester

Alex Duthie has autism, which means he is non-verbal, has extreme anxiety, development delay and sensory processing disorder - all of which mean he struggles to deal with everyday situations like going to the supermarket or the park. He also has no sense of danger, which can make getting around extremely difficult.

Two and a half years ago, the family Sheffield-based national charity Support Dogs, and last September Alex has matched with Chester.

Mum Anna said: “Chester comforts Alex, keeps him safe, gives Alex a sense of security and an undeniable sense of confidence. Alex doesn’t just tolerate being tethered to Chester, he loves it. When the harness goes on, we see an instant change in Alex’s body language as if to say, ‘we’ve got this’.”

On Sunday Chester will officially graduation from his Support Dogs training at a ceremony in Sheffield, where other dogs and their owners will also be recognised, and awards, including fundraiser of the year, will be handed out.