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Teenager With Autism Takes His Dog To The Finals Of The Crufts Dog Championship


Most of you have heard of Crufts. This is an international canine event that centers around a conformation championship, agility competition, obedience competition and much, much more. In fact, it’s the largest show of its kind in the world. One amazing piece of Crufts is the Eukanuba Friends For Life competition. This competition celebrates man’s best friend and showcases the amazing ways humans and dogs transform and enrich each other’s lives.

For 13-year-old Joel Sayer, a competition of this caliber was completely out of the questions just a few years ago. Sayer suffers from Autism and up until recently, he had never even smiled. This all changed, however, when his family brought Caddie into their homes. Caddie is an Autism assistance dog and has completely changed all of their lives for the better.

Image source: ITV News

Sayer’s mother, Janet, told ITV News, “He knows he can trust Caddie, Caddie is that permanent thing that is already there, so in this world that he lives, in that is so uncertain in his eyes, Caddie is that presence that’s always there and I think he feels calm.”

Before Caddie’s arrival, Sayer was unable to go outside. He often refused because it was so stressful for him and he wasn’t able to cope and the few times he did, he’d unknowingly run out into dangerous traffic. It was a tough time for his entire family, being stuck in the confines of their home. But Caddie knows just how to calm Sayer down. Although he’s taught to respond to specific commands, Caddie also instinctively knows when Sayer isn’t feeling well. When Sayer is stressed, Caddie will come lay his head on him to calmly relax the young boy.

Image source: ITV News

Now, going outside to restaurants, the movies and even the local aquarium is something that’s not only possible, but enjoyable for Sayer. With Caddie by his side, he feels safe and comfortable doing many things he never would have been able to do before. Because of this, Joel Sayer and Caddie are among four finalists in the Crufts Eukanuba Friends for Life Competition. Sayer says he entered to offer a thank you to Dogs for Good, the organization they received Caddie from.

You can cast your vote for this awesome duo on Cruft’s website:

Written by Katie Finlay
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