Super Spencer by Kate Stanforth

Nearly one and a half years ago, a black Labrador retriever bounded into my life.  His name, (Super) Spencer.  Never did I think that four paws could change my life in such a dramatic way but this adorable pup opened doors for me and many others too.

Background

After falling ill in 2008, my life dramatically took a turn from being an active ballet dancer to having complex health issues which left me dependent on my family.  A decade went past and as I grew older, I craved more independence.  I didn’t want my mum to have to dress me, or my sister fetching endless pillows to prop me up to make me comfortable or have a family member with me on every outing.  I just wanted to be ‘normal’.

Application and Training

I came across Canine Partners after one of my friends received a dog through the charity and I then saw an advert on TV.  I soon applied and nearly two years later, I was matched with Spencer.  After an intensive training course, we welcomed him to our home and he started to settle into my routine, making an impact on my daily life, but also on the people around me too.

Taskwork

Some of the tasks Spencer helps me with includes fetching items like my medication bag and water, alerting people in the house if I’m unwell, bringing the phone to me when it rings, helping me get undressed and even helping to change my bed!  Another useful task he picked up, but wasn’t taught by Canine Partner’s, is alerting me when my blood pressure is low – that’s how in tune he is with my body!

Northumberland’s First Dog Carer

Spencer helps me become more independent.  Tasks that I often needed a ‘human’ carer for, I can ask him to do.  Before long, he became Northumberland’s first registered dog carer and I received a personal budget to help with some of his costs.  Because of this, there are now other registered working dogs in the region who are following in his paw prints.

There’s no doubt this pup has changed my life significantly, from giving me confidence to get out in public again to providing endless cuddles at night.  It’s amazing what these dogs can do and I don’t know where I would be without Super Spencer.  

If you’d like more information on Canine Partners you can visit their website: https://caninepartners.org.uk/. 

 

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