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Fleck The Support Dog

September 21, 2020

Support dog Fleck is heading back to the office next week – after spending summer ­helping autistic adults via Zoom.

And his clients can’t wait to be ­reunited with the lab/golden retriever cross, who gives them more independence and a reason to smile.

Fleck’s ­handler, Sarah Tosh-Robb said: “His clients love him. He helps them with all kinds of things that ­reduce their anxiety, ­especially worries to do with the pandemic.

“One of them, who is more verbal, said to me he feels his anxiety reduced just by looking at Fleck.

“The pandemic has made it difficult for Fleck to do his job as we have had to keep in touch with clients via Zoom.

“But we should be back seeing clients in person next week. “I know Fleck has really missed it and his clients have really missed being with him too.”

Fleck is seven and ever since he was a puppy he has been helping vulnerable people with everyday tasks such as crossing the road and going on the bus.

He is set to start a new dog therapy programme with the Autism at Kingwood and Dogs for Good charities to support even more adults.

It has been funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which set up an emergency relief fund for groups ­struggling in the pandemic.

Chairman of the trust Bill King said: “This project highlights the amazing and versatile skillset of dogs and how they can help us.” Fleck has been working and zooming with adults across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Sarah said: “Fleck is a community dog owned by Dogs for Good but he lives with me and my partner Richard and our black lab Finn.

“While many assistance dogs are trained to just work with one person, Fleck works with a whole range of clients.

“It takes a pretty special, ­outgoing and confident dog to do this, to be able to respond to different ­people’s needs and abilities.”

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