Dazzling doggy display wows animal students

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COLLEGE students were treated to a dazzling canine demonstration courtesy of a charity that helps disabled people enjoy greater independence with the help of specially trained dogs.

The animal care students at Highbury College in Cosham watched Zebedee, a black Labrador from Canine Partners, perform a series of tasks for volunteer Glenice Lawrenson.

These included opening doors, touching buttons, picking up dropped change and even removing items of clothing on command – everyday activities most people take for granted that are tricky for people in wheelchairs.

Dogs like Zebedee are also able to perform a range of domestic duties such as unloading a washing machine.

Student Molly Taylor, 19, said: ‘We saw the huge amount of day-to-day tasks that trained dogs can actually do for people with disabilities.

‘I’m very interested in dog behaviour and training so it was great to see it being used for a good cause.

‘It’s something I’d like to get involved in and help out with in the future.’

Ms Lawrenson said: ‘Canine Partners opens doors to independence for physically disabled people.

‘By talking with students we hope to raise awareness of the challenges that people with disabilities face and what dogs can do to help them.’

More than 1.2m people in the UK use a wheelchair and a significant number of those could benefit from a canine partner.

The charity aims to train dogs to meet the needs of people with even the most complex disabilities, including members of the armed forces who have been injured in conflict.

To support the charity visit caninepartners.co.uk.