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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Disabled boy given 'dog therapy'
Tom with Viggo - a golden retriever cross Labrador
Tom wants Viggo to help him play football with his friends
An 11-year-old disabled boy has been given a specially trained dog as his full-time playmate.

Tom Harris, who has cerebral palsy and has spent most of his life in a wheelchair, was given 18-month-old Viggo to help with his everyday life.

His mother, Hilary, of Milton Keynes, said Viggo will give Tom "loads of added confidence and independence".

Viggo is part of the "Pals with Paws" scheme being run by Dogs for the Disabled in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Tom's a fanatical Liverpool fan and having Viggo will mean he's much more able to get out into the park with his friends and play football
Hilary Harris
Peter Gorbing, chief executive of Dogs for the Disabled, said: "Tom and Viggo are a great pair. Both are full of fun and energy, and I'm sure they'll be inseparable.

"We hope this is the first of many successful partnerships between dogs and children and we're really keen to help as many as we can."

The scheme aims to help the child play, to assist with physiotherapy and to provide moral and mental support.

Tom's mother, Hilary, of Milton Keynes, said: "I'm absolutely over the moon Tom has been chosen to have Viggo.

"Tom's a fanatical Liverpool fan and having Viggo will mean he's much more able to get out into the park with his friends and play football - I'm sure Viggo will enjoy joining in too."

More than 500,000 has been raised so far for the scheme, which is funded entirely by donations made at Pets at Home stores nationwide.




SEE ALSO:
Driver loses appeal over dog ban
13 Aug 04  |  Shropshire


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