An accident 10 years ago changed the life of Tracy Wells. After breaking her ankle she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - a condition which affects the body’s nervous system.
Having to use a wheelchair she has been unable to do everyday tasks most of us take for granted, such as picking up the post and getting dressed.
That’s why an addition to the family – in the form of an amazing young labrador called Chloe – has been such a help to both Tracy and her carer husband Damien.
The 39-year-old, from Sutterton, is just one of the people across the UK who has benefitted from support by Canine Partners - a national charity that assists people with disabilities to enjoy a greater independence and quality of life through the provision of specially trained dogs.
Three-year-old Chloe spent a year with a puppy parent, learning basic core skills and obedience, before receiving her advanced training through Canine Partners.
Tracy said: “Chloe has been absolutely brilliant. She helps me get dressed and undressed, helping take off my socks and shoes, collecting the post, bringing me my phone and picking things up if I drop them.
“She’s also been a great emotional support and great company – particularly if Damien has to go out, such as to his carers’ group meetings.”
Canine Partners has teamed up with Jerry Green Dog Rescue, which has a centre in Algarkirk, to help others in the UK benefit from the support Tracy has received. Two of their labradors are now to start their new careers as assistant dogs nationwide.
Julie Berkley, Canine Partners’ Manager of Puppy Supply and Training, said: “This is the first time Canine Partners has adopted dogs from Jerry Green Dog Rescue and we were delighted by the charity’s offer of support.
“Our canine partners provide practical day-to-day assistance with tasks that may be difficult, painful or impossible for their disabled owners to perform.
“They also offer companionship, unconditional love and affection which is so unique to dogs.”
Shelley Wooding, Head of Welfare and Development for Jerry Green Dog Rescue, added: “We’re delighted that the labrador puppies are making a real difference to peoples’ lives.”