Meet James and Spud

Posted 6 months ago in the Our partnerships category

James, 81, was partnered with canine partner Spud in June 2018. This is his story. 

James, 81, was partnered with canine partner Spud in June 2018. This is his story. 

My name is James and I have Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy. My disability affects my limbs, with no movement below the ankle and very limited dexterity in my hands. I get very tired and suffer with pain in my joints. 

“My main problem is lack of mobility – I can walk short distances with a stick; however, I normally rely on a mobility scooter. My manual dexterity is very poor, which means that I’m slow at doing things, I struggle with picking things up that I’ve dropped, and I fall quite a lot and find getting up very difficult. I like being independent, so it was frustrating that I might have to rely on others.  


“In 2018 I received a phone call from Canine Partners asking me to meet Spud. I couldn’t believe that such a handsome dog was going to be my canine partner. He was friendly, cooperative and settled in at home very quickly – our Aftercare Assistant was delighted by how quickly we bonded.  

Our partnership has exceeded all my expectations; Id not expected such depth to our relationship. It’s not just that he does things for me, it’s that the partnership involves mutual respect and support.

“Spud has provided structure to my day – he allows me to do things that I previously found difficult and he’s always there for me, willing to help.  

“When I compare life now to how it was before Spud, he enables me to live my life as fully as possible, given my disability. Thanks to Spud, I’m more self-sufficient and don’t have to rely on others as much. My wife is less concerned about leaving me on my own when she goes away. 

“Spud gives me the confidence to go out on my own. We go on lots of walks and I feel better for being out in the fresh air. He also accompanies me on visits to gardens and we’ve joined several disabled rambles. People talk to me because of Spud which means I’ve made so many friendships – after church each Sunday there is a queue of people wanting to say hello to us! 

Spud and I have been together now for five years. His arrival has allowed me to broaden my horizons and take more responsibility for my life.

“Our partnership became even more important during lockdown where we spent many happy hours rambling far and wide. 

“Canine Partners has become such a large part of my life. They’ve given me so much and I really wanted to give something back, which is why I’ve become more involved in fundraising and raising awareness for the charity.”

Read more from James’ family: 

James’ wife Anne said: “James and I have been married for 40 years. Since being partnered with Spud, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in James’ independence and confidence. He’s much more comfortable going places without me, and I don’t have to be as vigilant watching out for him. Taking Spud for a walk every day has been immensely beneficial, not just in terms of physical help but also for James’ mental health. They meet people on their walks and have become well-known in our community.  

“Regarding my own wellbeing, having Spud around has been a great help. I now feel more comfortable leaving Jamie at home while I go out for longer periods. I used to avoid going out for more than an hour or so, but now I’m happy to go out for the day or even overnight. Jamie falls quite often, but Spud is always there to help him. It’s a huge relief to know they have each other, especially at night.  

“The impact of Spud on our relationship has been tremendous. When Spud first came, I felt left out. I hadn’t realised how strong their bond would be, and suddenly there were three of us in our marriage! But now, I’m happy to see how well they get along. During the pandemic, Spud has been a true companion for James, and I don’t think he would have made it without him. Spud is wonderful and has brought enormous benefits to our lives.” 

James’s daughter Helen said: “Spud has been a positive addition to my dad’s life in all ways. He not only provides practical help but also serves as a companion, bringing joy and a sense of security through his presence. He has given my dad more independence to go for walks, and the help he has given around the house, such as picking things up, has been invaluable.” 


Share this page