A dog-lover with Asperger Syndrome says his rescue dog has changed his life and made every day worth living.
Robin Jones adopted Collie Labrador Cross, Charlie, from Dogs Trust Loughborough two years ago and now can’t imagine life without his canine companion .
From the moment Robin wakes up until he goes to bed, five-year-old Charlie is by his side.
Having Asperger Syndrome often makes facing the day seem an impossible task for Robin, but he and his mum, Jenny, have trained Charlie to get the 27-year-old up in the morning.
“Sometimes the world feels overwhelming and often I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed, so we have trained Charlie to drag the covers off me and nudge me until I get up. Seeing him makes me happy anyway but him removing the covers gives me no option but to get out of bed!” Robin said.
Robin works part-time as a service assistant at Screwfix in Mansfield, but having Asperger’s means he can find it stressful to have conversations with other people, particularly strangers, and so it is often easier to choose to avoid social situations. But with Charlie, that’s not possible.
“I have learnt to cope at work but when I’m at home it is tempting to stay in so we have trained him to bring his lead and harness to me and he drops it on my knee then waits, making it very clear it’s time to go for a walk. I know he needs to go out so even if I don’t feel like it, off we go.
“He also helps me deal with things that otherwise would be impossible. When my grandfather died I was extremely anxious about attending the funeral, but Charlie was such a comfort. We walked behind the coffin and it was as if he knew exactly what was expected of him; during the service he just lay at my feet. Simply feeling him next to me calmed me down,” Robin continued.
Charlie was a stray before being cared for by Dogs Trust Loughborough and last year Robin went along to the rehoming centre’s Summer Fun Day to show the team how well he was doing – and went on to win Best in Show.
“The idea of going to a big event and into a show ring would have terrified me if Charlie hadn’t been by my side but I am so proud of him I wanted to show him off and I couldn’t believe it when we won the top prize!” says Robin.
“We are teaching him other things, such as how to alert me if I have forgotten that I’ve started cooking something, and the ultimate goal is for him to be a fully qualified Assistance Dog. It isn’t an exaggeration when I say I couldn’t get through each day without him. He’s wonderful.”
To find out more about Dogs Trust Loughborough and the dogs waiting for their forever homes you can visit the Rehoming Centre atHill Farm, Wide Lane, Wymeswold, Leicestershire, LE12 6SE or find out more at www.dogstrust.org.uk.