After months of intensive training, Service Dogs Malta Foundation has been able to graduate two dogs especially trained to help persons suffering from autism and diabetes conditions. The Foundation began operations three years ago with these specific aims.
Ialta, a Labrador, is making a difference in the life of 24-year-old Avi Denaro who suffers from autism, a condition that presents difficult life challenges including the ability to communicate.
The Labrador, donated by the animal centre in France when still a puppy, accompanied Avi on a visit to Nice in France. Avi, who suffers from speech difficulties, was able to express his feelings of satisfaction as to how he felt comfortable and protected by the dog.
His mother Galya expressed her satisfaction at her son’s progress and said she had never anticipated the great difference the dog would make in her son’s life.
As a result of the effect of autism during childhood and the bullying he had suffered, Avi had lost all self-confidence.
“What the dog gives to Avi is what we all take for granted. He has difficulty communicating – the dog understands him. These are things that we do naturally, but Avi needs the dog to help him. This dog is giving him freedom to whatever he chooses,” said Galya.
Ialta, together with Jack, a Beagle, were certified by the Foundation as being qualified to assist sufferers with Jack being trained to recognise the sugar levels of Sue Fenech.
Sue said that if her sugar levels are low when she is asleep, Jack wakes her up during the night to warn her, enabling her to test the level before falling into adanger zone.
Foundation manager Joseph Stafrace, said that more dogs are to be trained to help persons with autistic and diabetes conditions.