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How Canine Partners assistance dog Maddy made life so much easier
THEY say a dog is man’s best friend – and in Alison Wyatt’s case, it really is true.
Alison has multiple sclerosis and has to use a wheelchair to get about, but her life has been enriched by Maddy, her labrador/retriever cross assistance dog.
Four-year-old Maddy was trained by the organisation, Canine Partners and helps Alison with her daily chores.
Alison, 46, of Winston Avenue, Colchester, said: “She’s an angel – my best friend.
“She’s gentle and placid, but also highly protective of me and has given me confidence and independence.”
Alison, a manager at the Early Learning Centre, in Colchester, before she fell ill, added: “It was the loss of balance which initially alerted me to the fact there was a problem. “Bending down was difficult and I always had to make sure I was holding on to something, or I would just fall over. I also suffered dreadfully with fatigue.”
After visits to her doctor, an osteopath and the hospital, Alison was diagnosed with MS at the age of 33.
She said: “I could still walk at first, but as my condition deteriorated, I had to walk with a stick. I had a fall and broke my hip, and now I am permanently confined to a wheelchair.”
That was when Alison’s parents contacted Canine Partners to see if she could have an assistance dog. As a result, Maddy came into her life.
Alison said: “As well as giving me companionship, it’s almost as if Maddy has a sixth sense when it comes to my needs.
“Often, I don’t even have to give a command before she is there, picking up something I’ve dropped, or going to collect the post.
“She helps me with tasks I wouldn’t be able to do on my own, such as pulling my socks on and off.
“She loads and unloads the washing machine, takes clothes off the airer, opens and closes doors and gets me things I can’t reach.”
Alison, mum to 13-year-old Daniel, added: “Since having Maddy, I’ve not suffered as much fatigue, because she’s there to help me with the tasks I find exhausting.
“Maddy is my companion, as well as my assistance dog and she carries out her job with unconditional love.
“I wouldn’t know what I’d do without her.”
l Canine Partners is looking for help with fundraising and also volunteers, especially people who can provide a loving home for puppies while they are being trained as assistance dogs. If you can help, call 0845 2090750, or visit caninepartners.org.uk