Dogs are amazing animals who provide love and companionship to their owners.
But superhero black Labrador Elvis went above and beyond by saving the life of seven-year-old Eli Wilson.
Eli is autistic and up until recently struggled with violent meltdowns.
On his way home from school the youngster had run into the path of an oncoming car, having been spooked by something on the way home.
Thankfully three-year-old Elvis had been trained to brace – and stopped the unthinkable from happening by preventing Eli from stepping into the road, while the driver slammed on the brakes just inches away.
Around one percent of UK children are diagnosed as autistic, half of which tend to bolt and wander away from their parents or carers, which could prove fatal.
Eli’s mum Rebecca Wilson, 32, who had been with Eli and her two other children, Reuben, 10, and five-year-old Arlen, at the time, said: “Had we not had Elvis, it would have been a very different outcome. There were certainly a few tears.
“That’s the thing with Eli,” added the full-time carer, who lives in Osbaldwick, York, with her children and their father, Karl Dawson.
“He can be okay one minute and then he’s not. There was something he didn’t like on the way home from school and his instinct was to run away.”
Rebecca first noticed Eli was different when he was a baby.
“He didn’t look or smile at me and didn’t look interested in anything,” she said.
“He never slept either, and as he got older he never spoke.
“He made screeching noises and everything used to upset him.”
Rebecca took Eli to a GP when he was two, and he was put on a waiting list to see various clinicians, including speech and language therapists.
He was diagnosed with autism when he was three and life was difficult, with Eli becoming violent and lashing out.
Just before the pandemic, in early 2020, when Eli was non-verbal and not wanting to interact with anyone, Rebecca became aware of Sheffield charity Support Dogs – which trains and provides assistance dogs to help autistic children or adults with epilepsy or disability to live more independently.
In July 2021, Rebecca went to the charity’s headquarters in Sheffield for dog handler training.
The following March, Eli was matched to Elvis and two months later, Rebecca went to meet him.
“I loved him straight away and thought he would fit in perfectly,” said Rebecca.
The following day Elvis – who was named by Global Radio listeners – went to the family home and met everyone.
She added: “I can’t imagine him not being here now – he’s very much part of the family.”