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Amy Baker, 11, from Sutton Road, Maidstone, will start at New Line Learning, Loose, alongside service dog Buddy

By Ed McConnell

A young girl who suffers from debilitating Tourette’s syndrome and anxiety issues has returned to school brimming with confidence thanks to a new canine companion.

In June the Kent Messenger reported on an appeal which had been launched to buy 11-year-old Amy Baker a £6,500 psychiatric service dog in time for her move to secondary school.

Three months later Amy, who also has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and problems sleeping, has returned from Service Dogs Europe’s base in Ireland with a 12-month-old golden retriever called Buddy in tow.

Amy Baker, 11, with psychiatric service dog Buddy

The dog is needed to provide Amy, of Sutton Road, Maidstone, with support, giving her confidence as she can often suffer from a tic in public which can lead to her freezing while crossing the road. The animal also helps bring a sense of calm through their presence.

Amy’s mother Emma, 38, said that the pair have really hit it off and that Buddy is already making a difference.

Mum Emma says the dog should open up Amy's world as she starts at secondary school
Amy's mother asked for us to use this picture to highlight her condition

On Tuesday Amy started at New Line Learning, in Boughton Lane, Loose. The dog will accompany her to lessons.

She said: “Buddy has responded really well to Amy, it has been amazing. He has sensed Amy’s tics before they’ve happened and been able to warn her so she can get down and hold on to him for support until it passes. He’s a really lovely, naturally friendly dog.”

Amy's 12-month-old golden retriever Buddy will give her new found confidence

Mrs Baker and Amy spent four days in Ireland training with Buddy and getting to know him, returning on Sunday evening.

Mrs Baker added: “It was good to get away just before Amy was due to start school and it helped us both get over some of the anxiety around such a big occasion."

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