AN ABANDONED Staffordshire bull terrier who was so badly neglected he barely had the strength to run will soon go into primary schools to help children with anxiety, anger and self-esteem issues.
Billy, who was taken in by Ryedale Dog Rescue after he was abandoned, passed an extensive assessment to become a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog last month.
His owner, Angela Wheldon, of Yedingham, will take Billy into primary schools on a trial basis to help children improve their confidence through activities such as reading to him and having him there as a companion.
Angela said Billy was chosen by her 13-year-old adopted daughter Britany and has helped the teenager overcome problems she has faced.
She said: “She thought PAT was a nice idea after I suggested it because he could help other children the way he helped her.”
Billy began his training in January and after having an assessment by the vet, his assessor had to make sure that when he went into schools he would not paw at the children or jump up. She said: “He just took it all in his stride.”
Rosie Stephenson, trustee and dog co-ordinator for Ryedale Dog Rescue, who helped nurse Billy back to recovery, said: “He is such a fantastic dog and he shows you just what a good family pet a Staffordshire bull terrier can be.”
For more information visit ryedaledogrescue.com or phone Rosie on 07581 324153. To find out more about Pets As Therapy, visit petsastherapy.org