It’s International Assistance Dog Week and we’re celebrating life-changing assistance dog partnerships.
Assistance Dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family.
“Golden Retriever Udo has been my assistance dog since Valentine’s Day 2011. We were partnered after my first assistance dog Caesar, also from Dogs for the Disabled, passed away suddenly.
Learning to live with a successor dog is a bit like being given a new pair of your favourite sneakers, they look the same, are the same size and colour, but it takes a little while for them to become shaped to you, and for you to become accustomed to a new spring in your step!
Udo coming into my life made it feel whole again, not just because of the very practical everyday tasks he does to assist me but because he gives me confidence and a sense of routine which I often lack when alone.
I’m a survivor of traumatic brain injury. Sometimes life can be challenging, not only physically but cognitively and emotionally too. Udo is a robust character who just seems to know when I’m having a tough day. If I cry he snuggles up to me, and provides a tremendous sense of acceptance. He has also been brilliant in adjusting to deterioration in my health and although he has needed to learn new tasks, he loves the opportunity to earn more treats and and to take on new challenges.
Udo is my ray of sunshine and I’m grateful to him for sharing my life and enabling in the way he does.”
Wendy and Udo – Dogs for the Disabled partnership.