A mum has praised Bury St Edmunds shop staff for nurturing the ‘special bond’ between her autistic son and his feathered friend.
Sixteen-year-old Kallan Carlile was diagnosed with autism in 2003 and displays a strong connection with animals.
Since moving back to Bury in October last year, he and his mother Nicola Smith-Carlile have made regular visits to Marlows’ pets and aquatic centre, in Hollow Road, to allow him to spend time with Lampard, a blue and gold macaw with a ‘big character’.
As well as allowing Kallan to touch and feed Lampard, as he has done on previous visits, last week staff went ‘above and beyond’ to make his wish to hold the 11-year-old bird possible.
“My reward was watching my son’s face, and the joy and love he displayed, he was instantly calm and happy,” said Mrs Smith-Carlile.
“I cannot describe how wonderful these staff members are and the above and beyond attitude they all have with the welfare of their animals and the understanding of children with disabilities, you often find it is the people who you meet in everyday life turn out to be the unsung heroes in your community,” she added.
Shop assistant Nicole Barnes said Lampard recognises Kallan straight away and leans his head against his cage until he gives him a tickle.
“We really enjoy their visits. Kallan definitely does have a special bond with Lampard, it’s lovely to see,” she added.
Store manager Nick Ellis said ‘customer service has always been a very big part of the business’.