A family who had second thoughts over which service dog provider to use for their autistic son have decided to acquire their own canine companion while the search for a trainer continues.

Kay Lythaby, of Goodrich Close, Watford, along with her family, have been organising various money raising initiatives throughout the year to raise £6,000 needed to buy their 6-year-old son, Thomas Keene, a service dog from Service Dogs Europe.

But last month, Ms Lythaby had second thoughts over using Service Dogs Europe after people’s negative experiences were highlighted on RTE Radio 1 in Ireland.

Ms Lythaby has now decided not to pursue a service dog from the company and, while she continues her search for the perfect service dog trainer and provider, has decided to get Thomas an 8 week old golden retriever called Buster.

She said: “It’s the long way round but the best way.

“We are still looking for the perfect provider to train Buster as an assistant dog but have plenty of time.

“We got Buster from a family in Reading who had a litter by accident and he has fitted in to the family absolutely perfectly.

“Thomas has said the ‘love’ word for the first time too – he has never said it to anyone before.”

The family will be going ahead with the fundraiser they have been organising for some time The event is a fancy dress party, with a Disney and Pixar theme, and will be taking place in Woodside Community Centre in The Brow, Garston on Saturday, October 3.

Ms Lythaby added: “We are hoping there will be a good turnout at the party and put this blip we’ve had down to experience.”

The event will run from 6pm until 11pm. Entrance for adults is £2 and for children it is free.

The family are also looking for a DJ. If you can help, email katrina.turrill@london.newsquest.co.uk.