Dogs Trust

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Dogs Trust Dog School helps pup to fill the paws of late ‘lifesaver’ canine companion

A blind dog lover is going ‘bark to school’ to teach her giant-sized puppy to become her companion.

Dr Nicola Hendey - who is registered blind and has cerebral palsy - is now hoping that with the help of Dogs Trust Dog School, Leonberger Arthos can fill the paws of fellow Leonberger Beeley, who sadly passed away last year.

Dog lover Nicola who had been a senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham for 16 years, gave up her career to care for the critically ill Beeley two years ago, who developed complications after surgery for a slipped disc.

When Beeley passed away, Nicola was devastated. But to add even more heartbreak, as Beeley had been by her side 24-hours a day for six years – helping with everything from emptying the washing machine and clearing the floor to bringing her the phone and helping her up if she fell, Nicola was completely isolated.

Now she is taking one-year-old Arthos to training classes at Dogs Trust Dog School East Midlands in the hope that he will become her ‘lifesaver’, just like Beeley.

Nicola, from Nottingham, says:

“Arthos is absolutely wonderful and loves going to Dog School. He gets very excited so one of the things we are teaching him is not to jump up to greet people! He is doing really well and I am very proud of him.

“My dogs really are my lifesavers and I couldn’t live without them. Losing Beeley was absolutely devastating and it also meant that I lost my independence.

“Leonbergers originate from Germany and are known for their gentle and affectionate nature. I have had four and they have all been wonderful and helped me through some very difficult times. My parents were killed in a car crash in 1998 and I had relied on them for so much, I was really struggling. As a result a social worker came to visit me and had a Leonberger one as an assistance dog. That was when my love affair with the breed began.

“They are incredibly loyal, learn quickly, are big, which is a great advantage as I am unstable on my feet, and they have brilliant personalities.”

As well as attending Dogs Trust Dog School, Arthos is training with Guide Dogs and Dog A.I.D. (Assistance in Disability).

Jenny Mee, Head Coach at Dogs Trust Dog School East Midlands, says:

“Nicola has been through so much and there is no doubt that Arthos and her dog Bronte are wonderful companions. They bring a smile to all our faces.

“Arthos is doing really well. We are teaching him the basics such as walking nicely on a lead, how to sit and wait and helping him learn four-paws on the ground means lots of treats and attention!

“It is really important that every dog learns the basics but for Arthos it’s even more important as he plays such a crucial role in Nicola’s life.”

Arthos has graduated from Dogs Trust Dog School puppy and adolescent classes but still has lots to learn.

Nicola adds:

“Arthos is doing brilliantly. He is very focused when we’re training but he has a fantastic cheeky side too, which I love. Recently he decided it would be a good idea to take all the laces out of my shoes!

“He is very entertaining and makes me laugh every day. Arthos is a joy to be around and helps me get through every day in more ways than one.”

To find out more about Dogs Trust Dog School please visit