Oliver and Lucy

21 Jan 2015

Black Labrador retriever Lucy is a Guide Dogs Buddy Dog and has been paired with Oliver. Buddy dogs are guide dogs that haven't qualified to work as mobility assistance dogs but can improve the quality of life of blind and partially sighted children and young people. Oliver’s mum describes the impact Lucy has had on their family:

"Oliver had a brain injury when he was two days old as a result of neonatal hypoglycaemia. As a result he has lost most of his vision, he has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, some learning difficulties and has an autism diagnosis.

"Oliver cannot express himself easily emotionally, although having said this he is a very very loving little boy when you understand him. He couldn’t say simple things like ‘goodnight’ to us, but that has changed and we are sure it’s Lucy’s influence on him. He tells Lucy that he loves her, and he has done so every night since her arrival.

School have noticed a change too. Oliver is in Year 1 (his third year at the school) at his special school, and his teachers have asked him everyday to say 'yes I'm here' in registration. He had always refused, until now. They are so thrilled with him and the language progress he is making.

"He has advanced in literacy too. Prior to Lucy's arrival Oliver used mostly verbs, nouns, pronouns and prepositions to communicate verbally, but since the first evening of Lucy arrival we noticed his use of adjectives.
"His mobility has improved too. While Oliver still needs adult support when he’s with Lucy, he’s no longer needs an adult to support him on both sides. Lucy seems to guide him somehow (even without her guiding gear).

"We can't leave him for too long by himself because of his epilepsy but in time Lucy may possibly be able to alert us to a seizure. She seems very intelligent indeed."

Oliver and Lucy were featured in a video for BBC Ouch. Watch the video below.