A Lowick woman is appealing to communities in north Northumberland to support fundraising and awareness events for Canine Partners.
Susan Fulton is backing a new Northumberland Support Group for the charity, which trains and provides assistance dogs for the disabled.
Canine Partners matched Susan - who has severe back problems - with an assistance dog last year. “I was given a wonderful canine partner called Esther in May 2013 and she has completely changed my life,” Susan said. “When I applied to Canine Partners I had expectations but Esther by far exceeds them.
“I thought she would pick up items when I drop them and I hoped she might help me get undressed so I can go to bed when I need to instead of depending on others but she does so much more.
“I can do more around the house with Esther’s help. We tidy up things I can’t normally reach, she puts the washing in and out of the machine for me and gets my shoes or slippers.
“At night she helps me undress by pulling my clothing and handing them back to me, she then opens the wardrobe door and brings my special pillow - which is bigger than her - to my hand while I am in bed. She sleeps by my side so I can ask for help at anytime.”
Esther can bring Susan her telephone and medication if she needs them, and helps her to shop by taking things from the shelves and picking up her walking stick if she drops it.
Susan says Esther really has given her her independence, and a whole new lease of life.“When I wake there is a split second before the pain crashes in and the whole day stretches ahead of me - but now a bright face pops up from beside the bed and promises a day spent together,” she said. “It is wonderful, so much better than I ever imagined.”
Canine Partners has proved invaluable to Susan, but many people in the region are unaware that it exists.
Jenna Davidson, who works for Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Newcastle, decided she wanted to support the charity, but discovered there was nothing set up in the area. She is now working to establish a Canine Partners Northumberland Support Group.
Susan said: “I’d like to encourage people to get in touch with Jenna so she can let them know when events are happening, and possibly to offer their help.”
To contact Jenna please call 0191 279 0098, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone would like to donate used stamps to Canine Partners’ stamp appeal, they can drop them into the Berwick Advertiser office.