Sunday 23 October 2016

Loyal four legged friend stays by hospital bedside of young autistic boy

Anna Hackett

Published 25/02/2016 | 12:28

Credit: Louise Goossens/Facebook
Credit: Louise Goossens/Facebook

An anxious autistic boy (9) undergoing an MRI scan was helped put at ease when his loyal best friend stayed by his side throughout the procedure.

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James Isaac finds it hard to make contact with other people as he can’t speak, and visual and touch contact are especially difficult.

But his assistant black Labrador dog, Mahe, has been a loyal companion to the little boy for over two and half years.

New Zealand-based James was called to attend an MRI scan at a Wellington hospital to diagnose his seizures – and the attending doctors allowed Mahe to stay by his owner’s side throughout

Credit: Louise Goossens/Facebook
Credit: Louise Goossens/Facebook

While James underwent general anaesthetic, Mahe nuzzled his owner’s face with concern.  He was only taken out of the procedure room for the actual duration of the scan.

James’ mother Michelle, told how Mahe has improved her son’s life, especially outside of the house.

"We couldn't even go to a cafe as a family. James would get very anxious and want to leave immediately. But when we got Mahe, James would just sit there waiting for us to finish our coffee."

Michelle also spoke of how Mahe’s presence has kept James out of danger, attached to the little boy by a tether.  Mahe will sit still and not move if James strays too far or tries to run towards a busy road.

Mahe was trained intensively for six months with The Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust to become a service dog. A long with the other dogs trained there Mahe has been taught to distract his owner and alarm other family members if there is something wrong.

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