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Katy, Rhiannon & Flanders


Meet Katy (aged 12), her mum Rhiannon and their assistance dog in training, Flanders. Flanders joined the Pawsitive Squad assistance dog program in Spring 2020. Flanders is a bouncy 2-year-old Labrador cross cocker spaniel who is training to be Katy and Rhiannon’s team assistance dog, supporting Katy with her autism, anxiety and hypermobility and providing practical assistance tasks to support Rhiannon’s autoimmune disorder which impacts on her mobility.

Katy really struggles to go outside. She worries about talking to people and going to unfamiliar places. Katy has panic attacks, meltdowns and shut down which can make it difficult for her to keep safe and avoid dangers when outside. Flanders has provided Katy with a motivation to get out of the house and go for a walk and offers a lot of comfort and distraction when out and about.

 “Having Flanders has given Katy an interest, something outside of herself.  He provides constant reassurance and love and can help her move out of a panic/ shut down quicker.  He can sense when things are escalating and help diffuse the situation. Above all he is her friend, always by her side, enabling her to do things she would not have dreamt of 12 months ago.  She has a sense of achievement knowing that she has been a massive part of training him.” Says Rhiannon, Katy’s mum. “As a family we have more freedom to go out to new places and Katy is calmer.  We are far more likely to be able to stay a little longer when on family outings.   Katy is happier to try what she may have totally refused before.  Even simple things like watching a new film at home are an option when he is on her knee.”

Rhiannon’s condition causes difficulty with strength, fatigue, and memory so the practical assistance tasks, especially fetching medication, picking things up and helping with dressing make a big difference.

Although still in training, Flanders can already do lots of tasks to support Katy and Rhiannon including:

  • Deep pressure therapy
  • Head rest
  • Picking up dropped items
  • Finding Katy
  • Find Katy’s mum and dad
  • Guide to exits
  • Respond to falls/faints
  • Interrupting anxiety behaviours
  • Helping to dress and undress
  • Fetch medication

The best thing about Pawsitive Squad is “the support, Heather is wonderful, and Katy gets on well with her, taking direction in the online sessions better than she does from us! We also love that her little sister can be involved as well and gets to be part of the team.”

Flanders is one of 4 team dogs working/training at Pawsitive Squad who are trained to support more than one family member.


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Pawsitive Squad CIC

2 Woodberry Grove

North Finchley

N12 0DR

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