Lending a paw
The July meeting of our Bereavement Group at Barnsgate Manor Vineyard enjoyed hearing a wonderful talk from Ruth, a puppy parent volunteer with Canine Partners. Ruth brought along the gorgeous Marley, who is currently training to become one of the charity’s assistance dogs.
Ruth explained that the partnership between the disabled person and their Canine Partners assistance dog transforms lives – often not just of the owner, but of their families as well. She told the group about one single mother whose teenage son had almost put his life on hold wanting to care for his mum – but with an assistance dog in the family, he felt he could think about his future again and has applied to join the police.
The dogs are given the basic Canine Partners training and then, once they’ve passed that training, they are partnered up with their human and additionally trained to specifically assist them. Some dogs accompany their owners to work, while others are invaluable on shopping trips. Ruth told the group about one Canine Partners dog who has made a visit to the local butcher – which has steps into the shop - achievable. The Canine Partners dog is known to the shop and while his owner waits outside in her wheelchair, the dog goes in and waits patiently in line. He has a bag with a shopping list and some cash hanging on his collar and the shop assistants make up the order and send the dog outside with it. Another dog has been trained to let the household cat in when it appears at the door, while others collect mail and help their owners undress for bed.
All Canine Partners dogs are trained about what to do in an emergency – which may involve pressing an emergency lifeline button or signalling to another member of the household.
There are currently 375 Canine Partners assistance dogs working in the UK and it costs around £20,000 to train each dog. For more information, visit: www.caninepartners.org.uk
Posted: 10th of July 2017