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Tomas's Story

Tomas has been visiting our kennels for 7 months. His father contacted me in January telling me about the fear that Tomas has with dogs. Tomas has been diagnosed with Autism, and he becomes very anxious around dogs of any description, to the point that he will run at the sight of a dog, with no regard for his own personal safety. This is worrying to his father, who desperately wants to help his son overcome the fear that consumes him.

When Tomas first visited the kennels in March, he was terrified of seeing the dogs. With gentle persuasion, we managed to take him to the kennels and firstly, look through the windows at the dogs, and then, me and Tomas’s father encouraged him to stand at the door and look in at the dogs. Although Tomas was extremely anxious at the situation he was presented with, due to greyhounds gentle, quiet nature, Thomas was able to cope with being in a close proximity to the dogs. By the end of the session, with his father by his side, he was able to walk into the kennels, which was such a great achievement. Tomas’s father was very happy with his son’s achievement that he asked to carry on with the sessions.

On Tomas’s next visit to the kennels, I gave him tasks to do, which meant he would have to walk through the kennels to complete. Although he was very anxious at first, by repeatedly walking through the kennels and seeing the dogs, he coped with being close to them without wanting to run away.

Over the months, visiting the kennels, Tomas’s confidence grew and grew, which was really rewarding to see. We got to the stage where he was brave enough to give dogs in the kennels a treat through the bars of the kennels, and I felt that now was the time to meet the dogs without having a barrier between.

We started getting Tomas to walk dogs holding their lead, where he was one side of the fence and the dog was on the other. It was a very big step for him to take, but with a lot of gentle persuasion, he was able to walk a dog.

On his last visit, we brought one of my own dogs, who Thomas has been talking to through the fence on his last visits, to meet Thomas and let Tomas take for a walk. Thomas was so brave and was able to walk the dog in the grounds of the kennels, and stand there afterwards with the dog laying by his feet. He was so brave, and it was marvellous to see a boy who had such a fear of dogs, being able to do what he has done. He is nowhere near as anxious being close to dogs and you can see his confidence growing.

Tomas’s father informed Thomas’s school of the achievements with coming to the kennels and being around dogs, which they were very pleased to hear, as they were aware of the problem that Thomas has with being around dogs. In March 2023 at the end of school term, there was a Merit assembly, and Tomas received the top award for visiting the kennels to overcome his fear of dogs, and showing his bravery and determination.

AceHounds Friendship Dogs

AceHounds on Talk Radio

Listen to the Talk Radio interview below to learn more about our amazing dogs, the history of AceHounds, and more about the work we do with our Friendship Dogs.

Conewood Manor

AceHounds visited Conewood Manor nursing home in Bishops Stortford witb the Mayor of Bishops Stortford,  Norma Symonds,  to meet the residents there. An enjoyable day was had and the residents were so pleased to meet Norma. One lucky lady was allowed to wear the Mayor’s chain,  which she felt very honoured to wear. The Mayor was very impressed with the home and the staff there. 

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(left to right)
Attila Gyarmati – home manager 
Norma Symonds- Mayor of Bishops Stortford 
Julia Ayliffe- activities coordinator 
Dawn Revill- Acehounds project worker
Elaine Sheppard- Acehounds project leader