Bobby, a black labrador trained by Service Dogs Europe, has become the first autism service dog in Singapore.
The three year-old was trained to be a service dog for eleven year old Miles McMillan who has autism. Miles mum Jane turned to Service Dogs Europe after discovering there was a several year waiting list for service dogs.
The mid-Louth based organisation was founded by dog trainer Henry Fitzsimons who as the father of two sons on the autism spectrum, realised the important role which dogs can play in the lives of people with disabilities.
Jane found out about Service Dogs Europe through an internet search and after communicating with Henry decided on Bobby a three year old black Labrador which was found to be suitable for training after being saved from a pound where he was due to be put to sleep.
“Bobby was in training with us for six months” said Henry. Then Jane and Miles came over and spent five days with us and Bobby, task training him and public access training him which involves taking him on buses and into shopping centres and restaurants in preparation to taking him back home to Singapore. The mother and son were allowed to take Bobby on their flight where he slept at their feet the whole journey.
“We’ve trained a lot of service dogs for both adults and children with disabilities, including autism as well as hearing, seizure, diabetes and mobility dogs for people” said Henry
While they had previously provided dogs for Ireland the UK and Europe, this was the first time they had sent a dog to Singapore. And while there are service dogs for the blind in Singapore Henry said that Bobby is the countries first autism service dog.