By David Aspinall
A teenager who suffers from epilepsy burst into tears of happiness after receiving a surprise support dog.
As Summer Shott was surrounded by family and friends in Raynes Park, London, on April 14, little did she expect an ‘anonymous’ note would come with a furry surprise.
Quickly becoming suspicious as her mum Cherie Johnson’s handwriting was on the card, she was left speechless after reading a special note which read: “You have room for a best buddy”.
The inability to speak was soon replaced with tears of joy as Summer is presented with a brand new chihuahua puppy called Buddy.
Cherie said: “I knew Summer would be ecstatic but her reaction was absolutely magical.
“I’m so proud of her instant reaction to protect him, she thought her crying would scare him and that was the biggest concern for her, not being in his face and getting excited.
“It was all about making him feel safe.
“I’m allergic to anything with hair so she has always been under the impression it was never going to happen, which is why we have a tortoise named Eddie.
“Her 16rh birthday was coming up so I caved and decided that I would arrange for her to have a dog that could help her.”
Summer was born with cerebral palsy and as a result has hemiplegia which physically affects her right side but she also has epilepsy.
Children with hemiplegia really struggle with confidence and anxiety, so she can’t do the same things as girls her age without a chaperone, including going to the park or shopping with her mates.
Summer had recently been in hospital after having a long episode of seizures and Cherie was told by a few different medical professionals a dog could help reduce her anxiety.
Cherie said: “The seizures she had this time were triggered by anxiety.
“Summer had just finished mock exams and has been under a lot of pressure at school doing extra revision lessons.
“She’s always felt she doesn’t fit it and has to listen to the girls at school talking about what they’re getting up to at the weekend and it knocks her self-esteem.
“Summer has also been bullied before because kids look at her and don’t understand her disabilities as they are ‘hidden’
“Having a support dog means she comes home every day to her own little friend.
“Since having him she looks forward to the weekend, she’s got someone to look after rather than her always being looked after and it’s given her so much confidence.
“Her anxiety levels have dropped dramatically and she hasn’t had any of the bigger seizures since she came out of hospital.”