A charity which provides dogs for disabled people marks its 25th anniversary and is calling for more fundraisers and puppy parents.
Canine Partners was formed in 1990 and has to date has partnered 530 assistance dogs across the UK.
These amazing dogs have changed the lives of those they are helping: restoring independence, giving family members peace of mind, allowing their disabled partners to return to work and even saving lives by responding in emergencies.
Canine Partners, which receives no government funding and relies solely on donations, trains dogs to perform tasks such as opening and closing doors, undressing, pressing buttons, retrieving items, unloading washing machines, taking card and cash from ATMs and other everyday tasks that disabled people find difficult, painful or impossible to do for themselves.
In 1989 Claire Graham suffered from Transverse Myelitis and was paralysed as a result.
She changed from an outgoing person to a recluse but was paired with Ulli in 2005.
She said, “Ulli and I have been together now for five years and I can honestly say that before I got him I could never have imagined the difference and impact he would have on my life and the changes we would make together.
“On a day-to-day basis, Ulli helps me no end. In the morning he brings me my slippers without being asked, he can retrieve my wheelchair if it rolls away, he gets laundry out of the machine and passes it to me to hang out, he can activate my Lifeline machine with his nose and so much more. Thanks to Ulli I have travelled to France and flown to Scotland a number of times – something I would have never done independently without him.
“Since being with Ulli my physical health has greatly improved. I no longer tire as easily because of all the tasks Ulli now does for me, such as getting the post and picking up items I drop (which happens frequently). When we are shopping he gets things from the shelves, but also passes items from my basket to the checkout.
“Just as importantly Ulli makes me laugh every day and as the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.”
Andy Cook, CEO at Canine Partners, said, “Everyone can take part this year in one of our 25 challenges that are listed on our website.
“We are really hoping to expand during our 25th Anniversary year, but we can’t do it without the help and commitment of the public.”
To help visit www.caninepartners.org.uk or call 08456 580480.