lunedì 13 ottobre 2014

Un cane per eroe



Siamo abituati a vestire gli angeli con le figure umane.
Io credo che il cane di questa storia E' un angelo.



Quando gravemente autistico, Toby Turner, è stato escluso dalla scuola per la terza volta per aver preso a calci i suoi maestri, la sua famiglia toccò il fondo dello scoraggiamento.

A otto anni, sconvolto dalla propria aggressività, ha detto ai suoi genitori che sarebbero stati meglio senza di lui.

La Mamma di Toby ha dovuto rinunciare al suo lavoro come infermiera per seguirlo presso una scuola speciale.

Alla fine l'unico modo per poter uscire da casa era di dargli cuffie, occhiali da sole e un berretto per chiudergli il mondo.

Ma 16 mesi fa, la famiglia ha iniziato una nuova vita accogliendo un cane in casa, Sox.

Un labrador addestrato dalla carità per aiutare i bambini con autismo.

Dopo due settimane la vita di Toby cambiò.

E' stata un'amicizia fulminea, un legame immediato. 

Toby smise immediatamente di indossare le cuffie, occhiali da sole e berretto.

Il padre ricorda: "La prima volta che abbiamo preso Sox, ci è voluta un'ora per arrivare a casa, perché Toby si fermava a chiacchierare con la gente del suo cane; siamo rimasti stupiti.” 

"Prima dell’avvento di Sox, eravamo disperati. Anche lo psicologo ha ammesso del sorprendente impatto che Sox ha avuto sulla vita di Toby.

Avere questo enorme cane costantemente al suo fianco ha dato a Toby la fiducia che non ha mai avuto. Tutto il suo atteggiamento verso la vita è cambiato. 

Abbiamo ritrovato un fiducioso, felice bambino che ama la scuola." 

Sox ora va dappertutto con Toby - tranne a scuola - e agisce come un effetto calmante.

Al mattino Toby si siede e lo accarezza prima di andare a scuola, assicurandogli di essere pronto per la giornata.

E non appena torna a casa, Sox si precipita ad accoglierlo ed entrambi rimangono continuamente insieme.

Sox ha una imbracatura attraverso cui è legato a Toby tramite una cintura.

A volte i bambini con autismo non hanno il senso del pericolo e corrono senza guardare. Sox lo frena e lo guida in sicurezza. 

Se Toby va in ansia, Sox conosce un paio di piccoli trucchi per distrarlo.

Il padre dice: “Sox ha salvato la vita di Toby e salvato la nostra famiglia. Prima, era soltanto sopravvivenza”. 

"Non potevamo andare fuori come una famiglia normale o accogliere amici. Eravamo isolati."

Le cose sono migliorate tanto che Toby e i suoi genitori sono appena tornati da un weekend e hanno anche trascorso due notti in un albergo, qualcosa che non avrebbero mai potuto fare prima che Sox arrivasse​​.

E domani, Toby potrà festeggiare il suo 10° compleanno con gli amici; inimmaginabile negli anni passati.

Con Sox al seguito, la famiglia ha anche goduto di una passeggiata in Hyde Park e un pasto fuori la sera.

Toby dice: "Ho avuto il giorno più epico che mai. 
Mi sento meglio ora che Sox è qui. 
Prima mi sentivo come voler morire.
Da quando Sox è arrivato i nostri cuori sono connessi - lo amo così tanto ".


-----------------  la storia originale ------------------
When severely autistic Toby Turner was excluded from school for the third time for hitting and kicking his teachers, his family hit rock bottom.

And the eight-year-old felt so upset by his own aggression, he told his parents they would be better off without him.

Terrified mum Vikky had to give up her job as a nursery nurse to teach Toby at home while they found a place for him in a special school.

Eventually the only way Vikky, 42, and her software manager husband Neil, 45, could get Toby out of the house was by giving him headphones, sunglasses and a cap to block out the world.

But 16 months ago, the family was thrown a lifeline by charity Dogs for the Disabled, which introduced Toby to Sox.

The three-year-old labrador/golden retriever cross was trained by the charity to help children with autism and within two weeks, he turned Toby’s life around.

Vikky says: “We knew Toby had an affinity for animals because we’d been to really busy places before and when he spotted a dog he was mesmerised – it was almost as if the world around him didn’t exist.

“Toby took to Sox immediately. He talked to Sox and wanted to look after him."

Toby Turner with dog, Sox, from the charity Dogs for the Disabled Playing: Toby and Sox

"It was an instant ­friendship, an ­immediate bond. It was weird, Sox just broke the need for Toby’s ‘bubble’ and just like that he stopped wearing his ­headphones, sunglasses and cap."

Vikky recalled: "The first time we took Sox on the school run it took an hour to get home because Toby was stopping and chatting to people about his dog. We were amazed.

"We all hoped it would make a difference but we didn’t dare to imagine that would happen straight away. We thought any progress would take a long time.

"The psychologist has even discharged him because of Sox’s amazing impact.

"Having this huge dog constantly at his side has given Toby the confidence he never had. His whole attitude to life has turned around. We’ve been left with a confident, happy little boy who loves school."

Sox now goes everywhere with Toby – except school – and acts as a calming ­influence. In the morning Toby sits and strokes his dog before going to school, ensuring he is ready for the day ahead.

And as soon as Toby gets home, Sox rushes to see him.

Vikky says: "If Toby is sitting playing with his Lego, Sox will be there by his side. They have become a double act.

"Sox is working all of the time. He has a harness and through that he is attached to Toby, who wears a belt.

"Sometimes children with autism get frightened and they will run because there’s no sense of danger.

"But now we know that if Toby goes to run, Sox will stand steady and won’t move, so he stops him running off, or running into a road.

"If we’re out and about and I can see Toby’s anxiety rising, Sox knows quite a few little tricks to distract him.

"For example, he will spin round on command, so I can go to Toby, ‘Look, Toby, what’s the dog doing?’

"We’ve also taught Sox to push a ‘talking button’. I put on a voice and record messages into a machine such as ‘I love you’. It’s as if he’s talking to Toby."

"If we’re in a restaurant, Sox will sit and lay his head on Toby’s lap to reassure him.

"Toby will sit there with his thumb in his mouth stroking Sox and you can see the calmness come over him.

"Sox has saved Toby’s life and saved our family. Before, we were literally surviving on an hour-by-hour basis.

"We couldn’t go out as a family or have any friends to visit.

"We were so isolated."

Things have improved so much that Toby and his parents have just returned from a weekend at a wedding and they even spent two nights in a hotel, something they could never have attempted before Sox arrived.

And tomorrow, Toby will be able to ­celebrate his 10th birthday with friends, which was unimaginable in past years.

Vikky explains: "Before Sox, Toby would find birthdays and ­Christmas really stressful because they were out of the routine.

"Everyone else has the expectation that those days are going to be really special and different, but that would make Toby ­physically sick.

"So in previous years we haven’t even told him it’s his birthday. This year is completely different – he is so excited.

"He is going into school for a half day to have a mini party and taking Sox with him. It means he can have the childhood he was missing out on before."

Vikky has now nominated Sox as Caring Animal of the Year in the Daily Mirror and RSPCA Animal Hero Awards.

Vikky, of Bicester, Oxon, says: "Before Sox arrived, we were really struggling. We didn’t know what to do.

"Being in a classroom situation was just too much for Toby and he used to run away and hide in an arts cupboard. When the teachers found him, he would struggle with them, hitting them and kicking out.

"Toby would get so upset and angry at his own behaviour, which he couldn’t understand or control. He’d self harm by biting himself or hitting himself with anything to hand."

He would say he didn’t deserve any love or care. He’d come home from school and be completely exhausted, emotionally drained. He would tell us he didn’t belong, that he needed to leave. ‘You’d be better off if I had never been born’, he’d say.

"Then he even began talking about ending his life. He would threaten to jump out of his bedroom window and I was so scared he’d actually do it I had to make sure the windows were always locked.

"It was horrendous. No matter how much we reassured him we loved him and couldn’t live without him, he wouldn’t believe us."

And it’s not just Toby who has benefited from Sox. His presence means Vikky and Neil have been able to spend more time with Toby’s sister Lauren, 17, and his brothers Joe, 14, and Ollie, six.

Vikky says: “Before, when Toby was really stressed, I’d spend four or five hours with him in his room calming him down, and that was time I wasn’t spending with the other children.”

It also means the family can spend more quality time together. For example, before Sox arrived, a family trip to the Science Museum in London turned into a disaster when Toby sat down and began crying.

But with Sox in tow, the family decided to try again last summer – and this time the trip was a resounding success.

The family also enjoyed a walk in Hyde Park and a meal out in the evening.

Toby says: “I had the most epic day ever. I just feel better now Sox is here.

“Before, I felt like I wanted to die. I couldn’t even go to parties.

“Then Sox came along. It feels like our hearts are connected - I love him so much.”

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