Beauty helps Cheryl, who is autistic, with her anxiety

An unwanted dog is rescuing her rescuer as she helps her owner, who is autistic, cope with her anxiety during lockdown.

Cheryl Taylor, from Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, adopted five-year-old Beauty from the RSPCA’s Chesterfield & North Derbyshire branch in 2017. She says, “I will never forget the day this amazing dog came into my life. Even though I fully understood the massive responsibilities of taking care of a dog, this did not phase me in the least.

“Beauty is more than just a dog to me; she is my best friend.”

Cheryl, who has autism spectrum condition, struggles with high levels of anxiety. Soon enough, it became clear Beauty’s support made an incredible difference.

She is a very sensitive dog who is able to pick up on how I am feeling with no encouragement

“She provides me with judgement-free companionship as I lack the ability to form many kinds of social relationships with other people,” Cheryl says. “She loves people; always wagging her tail and eager to greet people. Everyone we meet loves her!”

Beauty has taken on the role of assistance dog without any training, Cheryl adds.

“Even though Beauty has received no formal assistance dog training, this is the role she plays in my life and she plays it superbly. She is a very sensitive dog who is able to pick up on how I am feeling with no encouragement.

“If I’m particularly upset she will immediately sit, and raise her paw. If I sit down with her, she will give me a hug, often by placing one or two paws on my shoulder and resting her head on me.

“Having Beauty around also gives me a good sense of personal security. She will bark and alert me if there is anyone outside or around.”

Lockdown has been particularly challenging for Cheryl – but Beauty has helped her continue with some sort of routine and normality.

She says, “This has been a difficult time but lockdown has been that little bit easier for me thanks to Beauty. She’s given me a valid reason to go out and spend time in nature; she loves the woods, the sounds of the birds and spotting squirrels. Her happiness and excitement never fails to rub off on me!

“Beauty is a constant that never changes.”

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