It costs just £4.69 to support the cost of a working dog for one day – about the same as a coffee and slice of cake.  Each day, our dogs provide support enabling people to live independently … here’s what a typical day can look like … and all for just £4.69. 

Cover the cost of a working dog for one day

07.30 – Rise and shine!

After delivering a very waggy ‘good morning’, an assistance dog can help with pulling off bed clothes, fetching slippers, pulling a wheelchair towards the bed or fetching a walking stick.  To the dog it’s just a game but to their owner, it can mean that they don’t need a care visit to start the day.

My first sight every morning is her lovely, furry face,” says assistance dog owner, Dorothy who has MS. “She listens for the click of the clock radio and her nose is gently nuzzling me awake on the first beep!  It’s a lovely start to the day.

09.00 – Breakfast

Whether it’s bringing in the milk from the doorstep or fetching a box of cereal, an assistance dog is always happy to help.

“Because Luna does so much for me, I don’t have as much pain.  And that means I don’t have to take so many painkillers,” says Allison who has a spinal injury.

10.00 – Free run

Every dog needs and enjoys a run around in an open space and an opportunity to just be a dog… But a trip outdoors is good for our assistance dog owners, too.  As well as the positive mental health benefits that being outside delivers, it’s a chance to meet new people and often our clients find they meet a whole new group of friends.

“My children used to worry about leaving me alone in the house,” says assistance dog owner, Yvonne who has Osteomyelitis. “Now they just wonder where I’ve got to because I’m always out with Purdy!”

11.00 – Shopping

Assistance dogs are able to access public spaces such as supermarkets.  This means that their owners are able to do their own shopping and know that the dog is there to help them retrieve out of reach items.

Linda hadn’t been able to go out on her own for 17 years.  She’d have to call her husband and ask him to get things from the shops.  But now she’s got her assistance dog, Obi, she feels confident enough to go herself. 

“I can go to the shops myself because Obi is with me,” says Linda who has hypermobility. “When I went Christmas shopping on my own for the first time in 17 years it was wonderful…”

13.00 – Housework

Our clever assistance dogs are trained to help with so many things – even the washing! This means that their owners aren’t using up energy reserves or inviting pain by bending down repeatedly and struggling with loading or unloading the machine.

“Digby absolutely loves doing the washing,” laughs Caroline.  “Even if there’s nothing in there, he’ll stick his head in, just to make sure!  He’ll also help me to put washing out on the line – picking items out of the basket and holding the peg basket for me.  It means I don’t have to bend and that means I don’t have to worry about my hips dislocating…”

14.00 – Paws up

It’s important for our assistance dogs to have down time to have a snooze, dream about chasing rabbits and ponder where they left that squeaky toy.

17.00 – Dinner

Having a helping paw to pick up a dropped tea towel or even a can of beans that’s rolled under a table takes seconds for an assistance dog to retrieve and saves so much time and energy for their owner.

19.00 – Evening R&R

Our clients say that it’s comforting to know that they’re able to settle down on the sofa and watch their favourite TV shows, cuddled up with your four-legged friend.  And if they drop the remote or the phone rings and can’t reach to pick it up, their assistance dog will happily do that for them.

When it’s time to get ready for bed, our assistance dogs can help here, too.  Pulling off socks or helping to take off jumpers and cardigans are all easy for our dogs and the benefits to their owners are huge.

Night-time

Many of our clients say that it’s at night when aches and pains tend to escalate and often leads to long periods of sleeplessness.  The reassuring and warming presence of their assistance dog can reduce the sense of loneliness and provide a calming reassurance.  But for Cathy, her assistance dog, Neptune has become a life-saver …

“I have to have an oxygen line all the time and if the airline drops off the  bed in the night – which it often does – he will pick it up and give it to me.  Without him doing this, I’d be in big trouble,” she says.

It’s clear that our wonderful assistance dogs give their human partners independence, confidence, devotion and also enable them to be less reliant on friends, family or outside carers.

“Because of all the things my dog can  help me with, my care package hours have ended up being halved – I’ve gone from 90 hours per week to 45,” says Annie.  “Because she I am able to get myself ready for bed, I can go to bed at a time I actually want to and not have to fit in with my carers’ timetable.”

The cost of a working dog for one day is just £4.69.  A small sum for such a life-changing impact. 

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