A schoolboy diagnosed with autism who struggles to make friends has found the perfect pal in pooch Chloe.
Eight-year-old Ewan Maciver, from Norristhorpe near Heckmondwike, doesn’t get invited to birthday parties and can find himself isolated.
But since being introduced to labrador Chloe, he has started to come out of his shell and the pair have been inseparable.
Now Ewan’s family want to raise money to properly train Chloe as a registered autism dog after they fell victim to a cruel scam.
Heartless crooks stole £900 from them in autumn last year through a bogus company called Service Dogs Europe.
The offshore service scammed families across the UK looking for dogs to assist children with disabilities such as autism and diabetes.
The family had used a fundraising site hosted by the service to raise cash for a dog, before logging on to find the money was gone.
Ewan’s mum Penny Denton, 42, said: “It’s appalling that people would do that to a child with a disability.
“I went on the site one day and all that was there was some advert. Everything had disappeared.
“We told police and Fraud Action UK.
“Truthfully, I don’t think we’ll ever get the money back, but now we have Chloe we can move forwards.”
Chloe was provided by Autism Life Dogs and, at just one year old, she can detect when Ewan is anxious and calm him down.
She has also helped Norristhorpe School pupil Ewan form a bond.
“Ewan struggles socially and doesn’t get invited to many birthday parties,” Penny added.
“Since we got Chloe in February, he’s formed a strong friendship with her.
“He’s always playing with her and giving her cuddles, and he doesn’t normally cuddle people.”
Part-time training officer Penny, along with partner Murdo Maciver, 36, and Ewan’s brother Adam, 15, are now trying to raise £1,600 so Chloe can finish her autism dog training.
If successful, she will be a fully-registered service dog able to accompany Ewan to public places.
“This extra training is important so she can alleviate his anxieties as he grows up,” said Penny.
To donate visit the family’s fundraising page at https://uk.gofundme.com/ewansdog.
The family are also hosting a concert night at Dewsbury Irish Nash Club this Saturday at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £10 on the door and include music, food and a raffle.