From rescue dog to ‘life saver’
A former rescue dog from Dogs Trust Loughborough has qualified as a disability assistance dog, helping transform the life of his owner.
Three-year-old Labrador, Kevin, now does everything from emptying the washing machine to picking things up off the floor and is even able to call for emergency assistance for his owner, Wendy Martin.
“Kevin’s doing really well. He is such a character. He is eager to work hard and learns things really quickly. He is really switched on but as soon as his Support Dogs’ jacket comes off he behaves like a puppy. He runs around being silly and it’s great to watch him.
“My previous assistance dog Oscar has recently retired after eight years and is now a family pet. He just looks on and is more than willing to let Kevin do all the work!”
Kevin arrived at Dogs Trust Loughborough in October 2017 after a change in his owner’s circumstances meant they could no longer take care of him. It wasn’t long before the team recognised his potential and so they teamed up with Support Dogs which provides and trains assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disability.
Kevin headed off to begin his year of training, and is now fully qualified as a disability assistance dog for Wendy, aged 52.
Wendy has limited mobility due to disc degeneration in the base of her spine and neck and the pain syndrome fibromyalgia. She has needed the use of a wheelchair for the past 20 years and since she separated from her husband, who was her full-time carer, her support dogs have been essential to her every day life.
“Having a dog around is wonderful but Kevin is vital to me being able to be independent which is really important to me. For example, he helps me dress and undress, he opens and closes doors and one of the most important things he does is press my emergency button if required, so I can get assistance as quickly as possible.
“He loves to snuggle up, and at night he lies next to my legs, which actually helps with relieving my pain as he keeps me warm. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him. He’s wonderful.”
Danny Anderson, fundraising manager at Support Dogs, said:
“We work with a variety of dogs, including those from rescue centres or unwanted pets. We love being able to give an amazing dog a second chance and transform them into a lifesaver.
“Seeing the journey of a rescue dog like Kevin being able to make such a positive impact on someone’s life is very special.”
Celine Di Crocco, Dogs Trust Loughborough rehoming centre manager, says:
“It is wonderful that Kevin has qualified and is such an important part of Wendy’s life. His love of human company was one of the reasons we thought he had great potential as a Support Dog and I’m sure he absolutely loves being by Wendy’s side every day, and night!”
If you would like to find out more about the dogs waiting to find their new role in life at Dogs Trust Loughborough please call 0300 303 0292.