THEY are the best friends, supporters, even lifesavers to people with disabilities.
This year a Hampshire charity is applauding its assistance dogs as part of the organisation’s 25th anniversary.
Canine Partners has spent the time trying to help change the lives of people with complex physical disabilities by partnering them with a specially trained dog. These dogs are taught how to perform a number of tasks a human with disabilities can’t perform in a bid to help increase their independence. Now the charity has revealed the top 25 tricks a Canine Partner dog can do which their owners feel are the most useful.
In a survey by the charity they discovered that 90 per cent of people said the most useful task their dog performs is picking up dropped items, while 82 per cent said their dogs carrying items made their life much easier. The tasks dogs perform gives their disabled owner confidence to engage in social interaction again, and reduces pain and fatigue levels as well as their partner’s reliance on carers.
Third popular on the list was undressing the partner, with 76 per cent stating that was an important task for them. Opening doors was the next popular with 74 per cent, shutting doors had a lower percentage of 66 per cent which was shared with the task of unloading the washing machine. Fetching things, including the post, was high on the list with 60 per cent mentioning those activities.
Another 52 per cent said that help with shopping, including paying the cashier, was beneficial to them, while 36 per cent benefited from their dog retrieving cash and a card from a bank machine for them.
More than 50 per cent of respondents said that boosting confidence and emotional support was just as important.
Some of the more unusual tasks that were mentioned included tidying toys away, handing the disabled person pegs to hang out washing, tugging the duvet on and off and fetching the towel when their owner is showering.
Dogs like May, pictured, help people across the UK and she has been partnered with owner Kate Cross from Leicestershire for the past year and helps Kate, who suffers from a degenerative illness, complete various tasks including collecting post, a card out of a cash machine, pulling of clothes, helping with shopping and picking up keys.
Andy Cook, chief executive of Canine Partners, said: “It seems that a canine partner can help in a huge number of ways with practical tasks, but Perhaps the most powerful statistic was that more than 40 per cent of respondents said that their canine partner changed people’s attitudes to the disabled person. That really encapsulates the ‘Amazing dogs. Transforming lives.’ strapline that Canine Partners uses to describe its work.”
News Source – Daily Echo