A Morpeth family is hoping to get public support for their efforts to give a young child a new lease of life.
Archie Boucher was diagnosed as being high-functioning autistic with Aspergers tendencies two years ago.
The six-year-old’s condition means that he is prone to getting angry, frightened and upset and he needs to be constantly supervised.
Parents Helen and Roy Boucher have been looking at ways to make things easier for him and they were recently informed about the work of Ireland-based Service Dogs Europe.
It provides autism service dogs that are trained to provide safety and comfort as well as help with inclusion.
The couple, who also have a three-year-old daughter called India, need to raise 8,000 Euros to purchase one of these animals and as well as Mrs Boucher getting a second job, they have set up an online fund-raising page.
She said: “Archie is often in his own world, which makes it difficult to make him aware of his surroundings and for him to interact with others.
“We’ve tried so many different strategies and techniques, but nothing has really worked.
“A friend at work mentioned Service Dogs Europe to me and after doing some research, we decided that this would be a good option for us and so we got in touch with the organisation and sent off Archie’s diagnosis letter.
“It recently got back to us to say that it would be able to line-up a dog for him and we will be on the waiting list once we pay the deposit.
“Having such a dog will open up a whole new world for us as we will be able to do more activities with him – we’re very restricted with what we can do at the moment. It will also help with Archie’s independence in later years. He would be attached to the dog, so even if he didn’t stop when I called him, the dog would stop.
“The dog would also make a big difference to Archie’s well-being because it would provide a calming sensory input and companionship.
“We’ll be organising some fund-raising events and it would be great if we receive some support as we attempt to reach our target.”
If the Bouchers get the money in place, a puppy would be sent over for a certain amount of time to get used to Archie. It would then go back to Ireland for two months to receive further training before returning to live permanently with the family, who live in Middle Greens.
To make a donation, visit www.ifundraise.ie/archie