A Lancashire family are set to star in a BBC documentary looking at the heartwarming effect puppies can have on their disabled children’s lives.
Mum of five Emma Lowe has two twin boys, Alfie and Arthur, who were both born with Down Syndrome, leaving them nonverbal, non-walkers, and autistic.
The documentary, called 10 Puppies and Us, looks at the journey of Emma bringing home a therapy dog for the five-year-old twins, tracking the little pup’s progression as he undergoes training to bring affection and comfort to the two boys’ lives.
“We had been looking for a puppy for over 18 months and we found it really hard, what with the boys’ disabilities,” the 36-year-old from Clifton, near Preston, said. “We were struggling to find the right dog.”
The puppy, a now eight-month-old black Labrador called Hunter, was provided to the Lowe family with the BBC’s assistance.
Emma said: “It’s absolutely amazing. The twins are doing really well with him. We are so super excited to be part of this documentary and share our experience with the viewers. He’s the best dog in the world and we love him so very much.”
Emma’s other children are 13-year-old Harry, 12-year-old Ben and two-year-old Elsie.
Harry, who attends Carr Hill High School with his brother Ben, helps his mum out as a young carer for his twin brothers, which includes doing what he can to help with Hunter’s training.
Emma said: “Harry absolutely loves Hunter, playing with him and taking him for his daily walks.
“It’s been such an emotional journey but you’ll have to watch us to find out what trials, errors, and excitement we had.”
Therapy dogs are specially trained to help people with disabilities, illnesses or in need of emotional support.
They can be used in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices or disaster areas, as well as being assigned to individuals in their own homes.
Examples include reading dogs, where greyhounds are brought into schools and libraries for children who lack confidence in reading to read aloud to, to get more practice.
Last year, Daniel, an ‘emotional support duck’, shot to global fame when he accompanied his anxious owner on a plane - wearing bright red shoes and a nappy.
10 Puppies and Us airs on BBC Two on Thursday at 8pm.