Gabby the Autism Assistance Dog during Lockdown

Evolution

Since the lockdown began, we’ve tried to adjust all our new routines around Olivia to support her and her additional needs. Although she has loved the extra time with her family (and more importantly, the extra time on the trampoline) it has been a difficult adjustment as she cannot be left unattended even in the house.

However, thanks to Gabby, the task of taking care of Olivia whilst also balancing our new hectic lifestyles has been made a great deal easier with her help. Gabby is a great help on our daily walks, attached to Olivia with a harness to ensure that she stays safe on roads and cannot run off on her own – with Gabby being trained to lie down and stay if Olivia attempts to break away. She has also been very helpful when Olivia is facing over-stimulation and is able to ground her as she calms down – if things ever get too much, Olivia is quick to seek out Gabby for comfort.

 It hasn’t just been Olivia, but the whole family has bonded with Gabby and it didn’t take long for her to become the 6th member of the Matchett family with us being able to take her along with us on family holidays. At night just before bed, Olivia is able to calm down and get ready to sleep by cuddling up with her wee mate and giving her some well-deserved head pats and ear rubs.

(Benji, brother)