Rescue dog helps her autistic owner with anxiety through lockdown

A rescue dog who nobody wanted found her forever home and now helps her new owner with her autism and anxiety.

Cheryl Taylor, from Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, adopted five-year old Beauty from the RSPCA’s Chesterfield and North Derbyshire branch in 2017.

Once she’d reserved her, she visited to take her some toys and treats, and to spend some time with her.

She said: “I will never forget the day this amazing dog came into my life. Even though I fully understand the massive responsibilities of taking care of a dog, this did not phase me in the least. Beauty is more than just a dog to me; she is my best friend.”

Cheryl, who has autism spectrum condition, struggles with high levels of anxiety.

“Even though Beauty has received no formal assistance dog training, this is the role she plays in my life and she plays it superbly. She is a very sensitive dog who is able to pick up on how I am feeling with no encouragement.

“If I’m particularly upset, she will immediately sit, and raise her paw. If I sit down with her, she will give me a hug, often by placing one or two paws on my shoulder and resting her head on me. Having Beauty around also give me a good sense of personal security. She will bark and alert me if there is anyone outside or around.”

Lockdown has been particularly challenging for Cheryl – but Beauty has helped her continue with some sort of routine and normality.

Cheryl added: “This has been a difficult time, but lockdown has been that little bit easier for me thanks to Beauty. She’s given me a valid reason to go out and spend time in nature, she loves the woods, the sounds of the birds and spotting squirrels. Her happiness and excitement never fails to rub off on me. Beauty is a constant that never changes.”

As well as routine and structure, Beauty has offered Cheryl companionship, support and affection.

“She provides me with judgement-free companionship as I lack the ability to form many kinds of social relationships with other people,” Cheryl said. “She loves people; always wagging her tail and eager to greet people. Everyone we meet loves her.

“Beauty has a home with me for the rest of her life and is now a member of my family. Beauty changes my life forever, and I will be forever grateful to the RSPCA for bringing her into my life.”

To find out how you can help he RSPCA continue helping animals through these unprecedented times, visit www.rspca.org.uk.