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Dog therapy cures girl's phobia

27 November 09 21:34 GMT

A dog in Cornwall has been nominated for a special award for helping to cure a young girl of her phobia.

Nine-year-old Molly Manser's fear of dogs was so great, she could not go to the beach or park with her family.

Molly, from Falmouth, was introduced to Oscar the collie after a family counsellor recommended pet therapy.

Within six months, the girl's phobia was cured and Oscar has been nominated for the "dog of the year" title by the Pets as Therapy organisation.

Hazel Foster, Oscar's owner, said the therapy treatment involved building up Molly's confidence slowly.

It started with with her looking at Oscar and talking to him through a window, then progressed to short walks and finally meeting other dogs.

Molly's mother Clare Manser said before meeting Oscar, Molly and the rest of the family were restricted in what they could do.

She said: "Oscar's given our little girl her life back really and now she can have a normal life like other nine-year-olds."

Molly has described Oscar as a "soft kind of dog" who can sometimes be lively.

Pets as Therapy, which was set up as a charity in 1983, also provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, care homes and special needs schools.

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