Fifteen years ago Jill Ridgers, who is in her early 60s, became a puppy parent for Canine Partners, an organisation that trains dogs to assist people with disabilities. Since then she has helped to train fifteen dogs, ten of which were successfully matched to people with disabilities. The Charity is urgently seeking volunteer puppy parents from the local area interested in a fulfilling role that will help to change a life.
One such life belongs to Lizzie Dyche who has had kypho scoliosis, a bent spine, since childhood. Lizzie was partnered with Harvey-Nics. Lizzie says, “Before Harvey-Nics came into my life, I felt quite isolated and had little independence, as I was always reliant upon others helping me. The introduction of this golden miniature labradoodle to my life, which Jill puppy parented, just turned everything around. He helps me at the shops by getting items off the shelves, he fetches crutches, finds my husband when he’s in another room, takes messages to him and brings a reply, puts things away in low drawers and gets them out when needed, helps with dressing and undressing as well as loading and unloading the washing machine. He is always there close to me and has even started to alert me when my peak flow has dropped and I am close to having an asthma attack. I have been to places and done things I would never have felt comfortable in doing without Harvey-Nics. The gift that Canine Partners have given me is priceless… I feel amazed and humbled that I have been partnered with such a very special dog.”
In her role as a puppy parent, Jilllooks after a puppy from the age of eight weeks up until it is ready for advanced training, which can take from 6-18 months. This includes offering the puppy a loving home during its training, taking the puppy to weekly training classes and socialising the puppy into the local community.
Jill comments, “If you love dogs and people, have a sense of humour and want to continually learn, then puppy parenting is for you. It is a privilege to be part of a team that nurtures puppies to become such amazing dogs. When asked how I can give them back I feel every puppy has taken a little chunk of my heart and some a larger chunk (Harvey-Nics comes to mind!) but when you see them partnered and giving someone back the independence that we all take for granted, it makes perfect sense of why I am a puppy parent.”
Would you like to help transform the life of someone with a disability? We are looking for more people like Jill Ridgers willing to take on the early training of a puppy that will one day do something amazing. There are fourteen regional Canine Partners puppy training satellites throughout the country and training classes take place on a weekly basis. Reasonable travel expenses will be covered and puppy food, toys, equipment, all veterinary costs and training is provided.
For further information on becoming a Canine Partners puppy parent, please contact 08456 580480 or visitwww.caninepartners.org.uk.
Photo caption - Saffy, Jill Ridgers and Chino (please credit Kate Shemilt, Midhurst & Petworth Observer)
About Canine Partners
Canine Partners is a registered charity that assists people with disabilities to enjoy a greater independence and quality of life through the provision of specially trained dogs, whose well-being is a key consideration.
More than 1.2 million people in the UK use a wheelchair, and a significant number of those would benefit from a canine partner. The dogs are carefully matched to the applicant’s needs and lifestyle, no matter how challenging. They are trained to help with everyday tasks such as opening and shutting doors, unloading the washing machine, picking up dropped items, pressing buttons and switches and getting help in an emergency. The Charity is working in partnership with Help for Heroes, and aims to train dogs to meet the needs of people with even the most complex disabilities including members of HM Armed Forces.
These life transforming dogs also provide practical, physiological, psychological and social benefits including increased independence and confidence as well as increased motivation and self-esteem. A canine partner also brings companionship, a sense of security and increases social interaction.
Canine Partners receives no government funding and is wholly dependent on public donations and legacies.
For further press information contact Hannah Newberry,
M: 07771 561567, E:Hannah@leafagency.com
Canine Partners, Mill Lane, Heyshott, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0ED
T 08456 580480 F 08456 580481 Einfo@caninepartners.org.uk
Visit Canine Partners’ Web site atwww.caninepartners.org.uk
Registered charity number 803680