Benji is a Labrador dog who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland in the United Kingdom. Benji is a therapy dog for a 7-year-old boy with autism named Declan McInnes-Pirie. Benji is an Autism Light for the positive impact he has on Declan’s life as he stays by his side as a faithful dog.
Declan’s mother Phionna was encouraged to try a dog for her son after she read the book A Friend Like Henry written by Nualah Gardner, who was Autism Light #58. Henry is another dog who from Scotland who made a difference for a child with autism.
Phionna McInnes-Pirie says this about the light Benji has shined in her son Declan’s life.
Benji has been wonderful, he has really had his personality tested with Declan and he has risen to the challenge every time. Never have I seen such loyalty, patience and compassion.
There has been many a happy tear shed in this house. You read about it, sure, but until you see it happen with your own child – well that’s some experience.
It’s worth everything we put ourselves through. Getting Benji was the best thing we could have done (STVNews, Victoria Pease, Boy’s Best Friend: Autistic 7 year-olds bond with Labrador Benji, March 19, 2016).
Two specific areas where Benji has helped Declan with his some of the effects of his autism are preventing him from running away and providing pressure therapy. A harness and handle keeps Benji and Declan together in public and offers a barrier to his wandering. Benji is able to provide pressure therapy by placing his dog paw or leg on Declan, which helps decrease his anxiety.
Benji is in the process of being trained by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and when completed he will be able to go more places with Declan and become an official autism therapy dog. For more information about Benji, the Labrador read the article on STVNews by Victoria Pease (Boy’s Best Friend: Autistic 7 year-olds bond with Labrador Benji, March 19, 2016)
Benji will be added to the Autism Light Animal Page today. Benji is a fine example of a dog who is making a difference through his therapeutic and loving relationship with a young person with autism. We wish Benji and Declan the best in the future.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.