Logan and Dan's story
Logan Jewell, 16, was born without sight. He also has sensory needs and hypermobility, which made leaving the house difficult and stressful for everyone. But when Buddy dog Dan joined the family, he gave Logan the confidence to have fun and enjoy life. Here, mum Tabitha tells their story.
Life was very different for us before Dan came along. Logan’s conditions meant leaving the house and going out were a complete nightmare; anywhere busy or noisy was really stressful for Logan, and people were always bumping into him. It got to the stage where we could only go out as a family with Logan in a mobility buggy – every outing took lots of planning and it was exhausting.
When Logan turned eight, we realised he wasn’t enjoying any of the experiences that other eight year olds would be; we were limiting him as much as his conditions were limiting us all. That’s when we decided we needed to come together as a family and make a change.
I spoke to Maria, our specialist at Guide Dogs, who told us all about buddy dogs, especially how they match up each dog with the specific needs of the family. Guide Dogs listened to what we needed and involved Logan in the whole process, which was really important to him. They took all our requests on board and got it just right!
From the minute Dan came home with us, we never used the mobility buggy again. He gave Logan a huge amount of confidence – and freedom. Now when we go out, people move out of Logan’s way, giving him the space to walk. Dan also gives Logan something to focus on, rather than getting distracted by the noises and people around him. All his attention is on Dan.
Today, Logan has so much more confidence. He’s a talented drummer and goes to a weekly Rock Project group – he’d love to join a band one day and turn his passion into a career. Getting Dan has been good for me, too. Our daily walks together give me peace and calm, and some guilt-free ‘me time’. I love meeting other dog walkers, and the fresh air and exercise is great.
Everything has been amazing since Dan came along. We’ve been on family holidays together, instead of staying at home, and we’re always trying new things, like tobogganing or ice-skating. All I wanted was for Logan to have fun and enjoy life, and – thanks to Dan – that’s exactly what we’re doing now.”