Golden Oldie Spring Appeal

We all know how hard it is to lose a pet. Now imagine losing your best friend who also helps you with daily tasks, like getting dressed and opening doors.

Saying goodbye to a retiring assistance dog can be heartbreaking and incredibly tough for their partners who rely on them daily. It can mean needing more help, both financially and personally, which is why we talk to partners about future options around their dog’s eighth birthday. This helps to make the adjustment a little bit easier when their canine partner officially retires at 12.

By donating today you can help us:

  • Train the next generation of life-changing assistance dogs.
  • Reduce the waitlist for people like Martin.
  • Help individuals adjust to life without their canine partner.
  • Support retired heroes like Keith in their golden years.
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Martin’s story

Martin, a full-time wheelchair user, lived with a spinal cord injury for 27 years. Despite facing these challenges, he waited several years before applying for an assistance dog. He relied heavily on his wife, Pam, for everyday tasks. He felt isolated and frustrated, often finding reasons not to go out.

From Isolation to Independence

Then, having finally applied for a canine partner in 2013, came Keith, a gorgeous yellow Lab with a pink nose. Martin says it was love at first sight.

Keith became his lifeline, helping him regain his independence and confidence. He retrieved dropped items, opened doors, and even helped Martin dress. As a teacher, Keith made navigating the college environment much easier for Martin.

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A Time for Transition

But after 10 years, it was time for Keith to retire. We helped Martin adjust by gradually reducing Keith’s workload. We also discussed post-retirement options. Pam decided to adopt Keith, while Martin plans to apply for a new (what we call ‘successor’) canine partner. Keith’s retirement ceremony was held in March. Keith received a well-deserved certificate and officially returned his working jacket to us. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Not only did Keith change Martin’s life but he helped my wellbeing. I felt I could leave them together and know that Keith would be by his side and Martin was in safe paws.

-Pam, Martin’s wife

Thank you for considering a donation and helping us make a difference to the lives of individuals, like Martin, and their canine partners.