'They're inseparable': Heart-warming video shows how autistic boy, six, who struggles to make friends has formed an unbreakable bond with his adorable cockapoo puppy (and now they're training for Crufts!)
- Autistic Cameron Costelloe from Dunblane, Scotland, struggled to make friends
- His mother Shona, 38, gave him a cockapoo puppy called Coco to help him cope
- Six-year-old was reluctant to embrace Coco but pair are now inseparable
- Pet has helped Cameron carry out everyday tasks that he previously found hard?
A six-year-old autistic boy who has 'never had a friend' now has his first buddy - a cute Cockapoo puppy.
Cameron Costelloe, of Dunblane, Scotland, had struggled to build friendships because of his condition, says mum Shona Costelloe.
However, the decision to buy Cameron a pet, in the hope that he would bond with it, has changed his young life.
Coco, 18 months, has slowly won over Cameron's heart and now the pair are 'inseparable' - playing together, watching cartoons and cuddling up in bed every night.
One of their favourite things to do as a pair is race through agility courses in the back garden, with Shona hoping that they will one day enter Crufts.?
The duo's unbreakable bond has helped Cameron cope with tasks previously made daunting by his autism such as his first haircut and a trip to the shops - and even bonding with other kids.
Autistic Cameron Costelloe, six, of Dunblane, Scotland, struggled to build friendships at school so his mother Shona bought a therapy dog named Coco; the pair are now inseperable
Full-time mum Shona is constantly amazed by Coco's calming effect on Cameron during his meltdowns and said the inseparable pair, who practice agility in the garden, dream of making it to Crufts.
When the youngster first met pup Coco, his condition meant he would push her away when she tried to play and refused to let her sleep upstairs at night.
Shona, 38, said: 'Cameron is really social with the family but he has never had any friends. At school or in the park, he never has anyone to buddy up with or play with.
'Because of his autism he doesn't know how to play nicely or make friends with people - there's a barrier between him and other kids.
Life-changer: Coco has had hundreds of hours of training to work as a therapy dog for Cameron and rarely leaves his side
Perserverance: Cameron didn't take to Coco originally, but the little dog kept trying and he started to warm to her
'Coco has given him the companionship that he has never had before. They are the best of friends and I think they always will be. They have this amazing bond.
'Watching him learn to be friends with her has been incredible. He's so gentle with her and they love to play.
'One of Cameron's favourite things to do is build agility courses in the garden for Coco.
'Hopefully when he's a bit older and she's out of the puppy phase, he'll be her handler and they might even make it to Crufts.
Cameron's mum Shona (with Cameron above) is working with Paws for Autism and they are fundraising to open Scotland's first facility to train therapy dogs for autistic kids
The little boy's progress was evident when Coco kept messing up the snowman he was trying to build, and he didn't get angry with her
Shona believes their friendship is all about teaching Cameron how to be friends with other children
'When they were playing in the snow the other day and Coco was so excited she kept tearing through the pile he was collecting to build a snowman, I was just waiting for him to have a meltdown.
'We had to give up on building a snowman in the end and normally that kind of disruption would really upset him but because it was his friend Coco it was okay.
'She was throwing the snow about, so he started to throw it about too and we ended up having a snowball fight instead. It really was amazing to see that change in him.
'His friendship with Coco is teaching him how to be friends with other children too. He's starting to play nicely and interact better, it is amazing.'
The cute pooch now goes 'everywhere' with the family and helps Cameron perform everyday tasks that he might ordinarily struggle with
If Cameron is upset, Coco will run in to be with him and quickly calms him down
Parents Shona and Gary, 42, suspected their little boy had autism from the age of two as he struggled with speech and found day-to-day tasks 'challenging'.
When Cameron was officially diagnosed at four, Shona started researching therapy dogs for autistic children but when she couldn't find a centre nearby decided they would buy and train a puppy.
Working alongside trainers at Stirling Dog Behavioural Centre, mum-of-one Shona has dedicated hundreds of hours to making sure Coco is the best support she can be for Cameron.
While he didn't immediately take to the chocolate-coloured and curly-haired pup, Cameron now adores Coco and will go anywhere if she is going too.
Coco even came with Cameron to have his first ever haircut, which autistic children can find quite stressful
The playful pup knows when Cameron isn't in the mood for games and will lie down next to him calmly
Seeing the incredible progress her son has made, has inspired Shona to work with charity Paws for Autism and they are fundraising to open Scotland's first facility to train therapy dogs for autistic kids.
The mum-of-one is determined to help other families the way Coco has helped Cameron.
Shona said: 'When we first brought Coco home, Cameron wouldn't bother with her at all. If she tried to play or cuddle he would even push her away.
'At night I would ask him if he wanted Coco upstairs with him and he would say 'no' so she stayed downstairs.
Cameron was diagnosed with autism when he was four after his parents noticed that he struggled with speech and found day-to-day tasks 'challenging'
Shona says her son has made 'an unbelievable amount of progress' and says it's thanks to Coco
'But she kept trying and she was very patient with him. Slowly he warmed to her and now they are inseparable.
'Day-to-day tasks that Cameron used to find challenging, he's now happy to do if he's go Coco with him.
'She comes everywhere with us - to the shops and for Cameron's first ever haircut. We tried for two years to get him to the barbers but when he knew Coco could come with him, he was fine.
'He has made an unbelievable amount of progress in the last year and it is all down to Coco and her friendship.
He's going nowhere: Cameron and Coco are 'inseparable' and has become part of the family
'She is an amazing dog, she is so loving and she knows exactly how to deal with him. If he's having a meltdown then Coco will run in to be with him and having her to focus on calms him down so quickly.
'When he's not in the mood to play she can tell and she'll just sit next to him and eventually he'll start to stroke her or cuddle her.
'Seeing him make so much progress makes us so proud and it makes all the hard work we've put in training Coco so worth it.
'We really want to get the training facilities up and running and include a play area for children with autism and their dogs.
'I know how special Coco is to our family so if we can achieve that for other families too, it would be so amazing.'?
Most watched News videos
- Man rescues rabbit amidst intensifying flames from LA wildfire
- President Trump slurs speech during Jerusalem address
- 'Home's South London mate' Sadiq Khan's retort to BBC reporter
- ISIS fighters scream in panic before being blown up in Syria
- Daring commuters pass hills engulfed in flames by Cali wildfires
- Motorcyclist chased by driver before being mown down and killed
- Moment Charlie Pearce hides behind a car to avoid a police car
- Sarah Sanders: Trump slurred words because his 'throat was dry'
- Huge wildfire rages alongside busy Interstate 405 in California
- Met Office: Winds strengthen across UK as Storm Caroline develops
- Palestinians protest US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel capital
- Moment MP Grayling STRUGGLES to cope with BBC grilling on Brexit