Charity celebrates 10 years of providing Scottish super-dogs
Celebration is in the air as an assistance dog charity marks a decade of changing lives in Scotland.
Canine Partners in Scotland was launched in 2007 training Scotland’s cleverest dogs.
Since then the charity has transformed more than 40 physically disabled people’s lives by providing them with a specially trained assistance dog.
Now the charity which currently has 30 working assistance dogs in Scotland is hosting a special party to celebrate its 10 years of life-changing work (that’s 70 dog-years!).
The dogs are taught how to carry out a range of tasks including opening and closing doors, picking up dropped items, getting things from shop shelves and fetching help in an emergency. They can even load and unload washing machines.
Kitty Wallace was matched with canine partner Emma, a Labrador cross golden retriever in 2013.
The 46-year-old from Cowdenbeath, Fife has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a hereditary condition that affects her mobility.
Kitty, a mum-of-two said: “I really can’t imagine how I ever managed without her, no matter what I drop she picks it up and brings it to whichever hand is not in strapping at the time, it’s a game and her tail wags continuously.
“I don’t have to risk dislocating my fingers opening and closing the heavy double glazed front and back door anymore, Emma opens them and closes them and is so proud of herself when she gets it first time.
“But best of all I have my life back, and my husband Davy and I have peace of mind. If I have a fall or faint in another room, Emma will go and fetch Davy if he is home. If not she will fetch the telephone and stay by me until help arrives, then she will open the door and let them in.
“I love having her around and the unconditional love that shines out of those big brown eyes. We are perfectly matched and I wouldn’t have it any other way, she really has given me my life back.”
The charity’s Scotland community manager Dale Gormley has been at the helm of Canine Partners in Scotland since 2012.
He said: “We have had an absolutely fantastic 10 years training some of the most amazing assistance dogs you can imagine in Scotland that transform the lives of people with physical disabilities.
“This invite-only event will be a great opportunity for all of our key supporters from all corners of the Canine Partners family including established partnerships, volunteers and other key supporters to come together and celebrate our achievements from the past decade.
“In the last 10 years we have raised more than £1 million to help transform lives but our work isn’t over as we know there are thousands more people who could benefit from one of these amazing dogs.
“When I heard about Canine Partners I was keen to join the team as I have always adored dogs and I am passionate about the charitable sector and helping people. These two things make working for Canine Partners very exciting and I can’t wait to see what the future for the charity brings.”
The invite-only event at Falkirk Stadium on September 2 comes after dozens of people attended two puppy parties in Currie, Edinburgh and Rouken Glen Park, Glasgow, on August 15 and 16 showcasing the charity’s puppy training teams.
The puppy parties were part of Canine Partners’ campaign to recruit new volunteer puppy parents who look after and train pups in their first year of training across central Scotland.
For more information about the charity and its volunteering opportunities call 0845 658 0480 or visit caninepartners.org.uk