From L-R Monty Jenny Clark from Woofability Dolphin shopping centre manager John Grinnell Ryan Misty and Dolphin shopping centre administrator Lisa

A young assistance dog, which was officially named Misty by the management team at the Dolphin shopping centre in Poole, has been successfully partnered to help support an 11-year-old boy from Moordown.

Following two years of training, Misty has now been homed with Ryan Skinner who suffers with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Otherwise known as DMD, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a recessive form of muscular dystrophy affecting around one in 3,600 boys, which results in muscle degeneration.

At eight-weeks old Misty was brought to the Dolphin shopping centre to help raise awareness of the local charity, Woofability, it was here the golden retriever puppy was honoured with her new name.

Over the past 18 months, Misty has worked with the team at Woofability as part of her training programme which consisted of the usual basic commands, lots of playtime and socialising with people and older dogs.

During this period, Misty learnt new tasks and continued to enjoy new experiences which included going on holiday, trips in boats, going into an office, visiting schools and care homes.

Jenny Clark from Woofability, said: “By the time our dogs have reached the age of two, most have learned all of their tasks but can still be puppies at heart. Misty and Ryan’s relationship has been life-changing, they both adore each other.

“Misty has learnt to pick up and return anything Ryan drops; she presses the door entry and traffic light buttons and lots more. Everything is done as a game and Misty simply loves to please Ryan.”

John Grinnell, centre manager of the Dolphin shopping centre, added: “We were delighted to name Misty, she is a bright, intelligent dog and we are thrilled to hear she has been partnered with Ryan. Woofability is a fantastic charity and we appreciate hearing the latest updates on Misty’s progress.” 

Woofability is a local organisation that trains assistance dogs for disabled people in Dorset, Hampshire and south Wiltshire, they will be in the Dolphin shopping centre on Monday December 16.