One Boy And His Dog
Anya Szczur || September 16th
Vikky and Neil Turner had no idea what to do when their seven year old son Toby was expelled from school for behavioural issues, but the family given a second chance in the form of Toby's newly found four-legged friend...
"I had no idea what Toby’s future held for him. Would he be able to live on his own? Have a career? I was so sad for him but there was another emotion, too – guilt.” Toby and Sox is a heartarming tale of one boy and his dog Sox who comes into his life after his autism begins to put a hold on his happiness and ability to cope with day to day life.
The story starts with Vikky, Toby's mum and the author of the book; you follow her emotional journey through the births of all her children, new jobs and house moves. When Toby is introduced to the story the book takes a very different turn as it become quickly apparent that Toby is not dealing with life as well as the rest of her family. Vikky shares events throught Toby's life and explains them in so much detail and empathy that you feel you are actually part of her family.
On the news that Toby does infact have autism, you are left with almost a sense of relief for Vikky and her family that she finally has some answers as to why Toby has struggled so much, and that as a family they can start to work on making things better for their son. Unfortunatly the diagnoses does not make Toby's life easier, however, and his daily outburts and struggles become more frequent and harder to manage. Vikky's life and her family's lives also are put on hold, as they can no longer leave the house for anything other than school and work, due to Toby being unable to cope with crowds or new places.
The story hits a point where you wonder how things can ever get better and your heart starts to break for Vikky, Toby and the whole family, but then out of the blue Vikky comes across Dogs For The Disabled, and finds out what a dog could offer a child with autism. Finally the story begins to take a positive turn, and the arrival of Sox, a dog trained to help children like Toby cope better with the troubles autism brings.
From the minute they meet they are inseprable, and Toby's days become very different; he no longer hides from the world, and even starts to make conversation himself. Sox and Toby have such a conection you feel they were meant to be paired together and throughout the book they help one another bring light into each others life. Soxs helps improve not just Toby's life but his whole family's, who have had to watch Toby struggle for so long and at last see him find some happiness.
This book is a rollercoaster of emotions but leaves you ffeling very humbled that a bestfriend can help through the hardest of times and that best friend can have four paws.