Meet Jai Jayy – the adorable Labrador from Sheffield earmarked as a future autism assistance dog

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This Young fox-red Labrador is working hard to become a successful assistance dog of the future – but in his downtime, he’s a real water baby.

Assistance dog Jai Jayy likes nothing better than swimming in lakes, rivers, streams, or any handy stretch of water.

Jai Jayy is one of a number of promising young dogs being put through their paces by Sheffield-based charity Support Dogs, whose training centre is in Brightside.

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All its puppies stay with puppy socialisers in and around the city before starting their full-time training at ‘big school’ when they are just over 12 months old. Even then, they live with volunteer foster carers, as the charity prides itself on its dogs not spending a single night in kennels.

Fox-red Labrador Jai Jayy.Fox-red Labrador Jai Jayy.
Fox-red Labrador Jai Jayy.

Support Dogs runs three training programmes to provide assistance dogs for children with autism, adults with epilepsy and adults with a variety of medical conditions and physical disabilities such as MS, cerebral palsy and arthritis.

Jai Jayy, who was named by the Yorkshire Young Achievers’ Foundation in recognition of the support they have given our charity over the past five years, has been in full time training since the end of the Covid lockdown and is currently living with a foster family in Sheffield.

Trainer Ellie Keen reports that he’s doing very well and making great progress in his mission to become a support dog.

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Ever since he was a small pup – he arrived at Support Dogs with his three fox-red brothers a couple of years ago – Jai Jayy has been earmarked as a future autism assistance dog partly because of his calm demeanour.

Not that Jai jay has always been laid back. When he first arrived at the charity, he was very cheeky and a bit of a character, but as he’s matured, he’s calmed down and become a model canine professional.

Ellie says: “He’s always been very good with children, and he is very chilled and very cuddly. Autism assistance dogs need to have confidence in order to give the child confidence. They also have to give comfort to the child. Because Jai Jayy is so cuddly, he will be perfect.”

Lovely JJ has already been matched to a child with autism and will soon be going to live, train and work with his new family. Autism dogs like him are trained to keep their child safe, ensuring the child doesn’t run off and put themselves in danger, as well as providing love and companionship. Child and dog form a close, often very touching bond.

Adds Ellie: “Jai Jayy is smart, laid back, confident and very handsome. Once he settles in with his new family, he will be fine. We’re so proud of him.”

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