A PARTIALLY-sighted Johnstone boy who has autism is being given a helping hand in life, thanks to a four-legged friend.

The parents of Zack Addison, 11, have been fundraising to buy a Fox Red Labrador puppy named Milo.

The 10-week-old pup now needs to go through 18 months of training to become an assistance dog.

And the intu Braehead Community Fund has kick-started fundraising by donating £250 towards specialist training to Kennel Club standards for Milo.
Zack is a surviving twin and was born prematurely at 23 weeks, weighing a mere 500g.

His dad George said: “Zack spent the first few months of his life in hospital and we’re very lucky to have him here today, as he wasn’t expected to survive.

“Against all the odds, he did.

“Zack is partially sighted, autistic and has sensory issues. Milo will be trained to look out for Zack, have a calming influence on him and provide companionship.

“Having an assistance dog will mean the world to Zack and give him something to concentrate on. Milo will give him greater independence, both in and out of the home.

“Zack can become excitable and get frustrated with himself but he really calms down when he’s in Milo’s company and the dog has already had an amazing influence.
“We really appreciate the generosity of the team at intu Braehead and we can’t thank them enough for the donation."

Lydia Brown, intu Braehead’s community development manager, said: “It’s amazing how assistance dogs can have such a positive effect on people’s lives. You can see that Milo will become a great companion for Zack.”