All you need is love … and a dog.

When we were away last week I was starting to lose my faith in humans.  We were judged and glared at relentlessly on holiday with Reilly. It’s hurtful, not as hurtful as it was in the early days as now I just tend to get angry rather than upset.  Saving grace was we got back on Wednesday and on the Saturday we had booked at appointment in Carlisle with Perfect Pooches to see a Labradoodle pup for Reilly.

As most people will be aware we’ve wanted a support dog for Reilly for a long time and been messed about, you can fill in the blanks here -> Autism Assistance Dog – Story so far … 

We drove to Carlisle on Saturday morning with Reilly (they are relocating to Kent soon).  We had given him warning of where we were going so he was prepared when we arrived. We arrived at exactly the same time as a lovely family from Glasgow and were met by Anna the breeder at the gates of a massive old farmhouse.

We were expecting Reilly to a) refuse to go in b) go in and come back out within 4 seconds c) go in break something and leave within 10 seconds.  To our massive surprise he actually sat down, a huge effort given there is 5 strangers and the family dogs in a strange environment.  Reilly’s first ever experience with a dog was an experience I will never forget, unspoken friendship – I blogged about it at One boy and his dog.

Tarly’s Bro’s

Anna brought 3 of the most adorable puppies i’ve ever seen.  One chocolate, one apricot and one black.  I wanted them all.  Reilly even used his finger to stroke their paws!  After much cuddling and oooing and aaahing we decided to go for the chunky chocolate fella, his name we already decided would be Tarly after my favourite Game of Thrones character Samwell Tarly – the ultimate friend and companion to Jon Snow, it’s just perfect and also because Reilly can say Tuh noises so it’s a good start.

I’ve been asked many times why a Labradoodle as a support dog and one of the main reasons is Ellis has allergies but also because they make outstanding service dogs.

Labradoodles were first bred  in Australia where in 1988 a breeder for the Royal Guide Dogs Associations of Australia deliberately crossed a Poodle and a Labrador with the intention of producing a litter with all of the temperament and trainability traits of the Lab, but with the non-shedding, low allergy coat of the Poodle.  Labradoodles are in common use in many countries of the world as assistance dogs, and of course, the same traits that make them a good pick as assistance dogs also makes them eminently suitable and popular as pets.

from pets4homes

Reilly did exceptionally well and managed around an hour.  We saw all the little pups in the puppy room which is inside the home.  Shane did cough at one point and he retreated behind me for 15 minutes as quiet as a mouse and shut himself down to recover.  We came home over the moon that we had found our little man and transferred the deposit across to Anna.

I woke up this morning to a text from Anna to say that she had been reading Reilly’s blog and the struggles we have had and she wanted to help.  Anna has offered to waive the complete fee for Tarly and would like us to use the money for the extensive training etc that Tarly will require for him to reach service dog standard, it’s an expensive business!

I wasn’t even out of bed and I was crying which was a new one for me.  I’m blown away that someone who does not know us would be willing to help like that.  More of this in this world would certainly make it a better one, faith restored in humanity.  Anna has a husband and four children herself and feels like she can help and really wants to – we will be forever grateful to her and Craig for showing such kindness.

Please be sure I will document every step of the journey with Reilly and Tarly from initial training right the way through to specialised training.  A journey I can’t wait to start.  It is scientifically proven that dogs are incredible companions for autistic people.  We want to take Tarly that step further as Reilly is a runner. Tarly will help keep him safe and provide much needed companionship but to be honest we are all a bit smitten and he’ll be much loved.

If you want to take a look at Anna and her perfect pooches and even tell them how awesome they are – please go to their facebook page Perfect Pooches Facebook.  

Tarly Stephenson comes to his new home on 24th September.

Published by

Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at

11 thoughts on “All you need is love … and a dog.”

  1. Anna is my best friend and the kindest person you could ever meet. I have six dogs all from her and I look after her dogs twice a year for much deserved holidays. An amazing women xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi I’m the mum of the family you met on Saturday. It was lovely to meet you, Shane, Reilly and Tarly. My son signed up for the blog first and could not wait to tell me about Anna’s kindness. This does not surprise me given the warm reception given by Anna and her dogs -its obviously that she is a lovely person who really cares – well done Anna <3. I look forward to hearing about your progress. Lots of love and hopes. Nadia x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s