ALMOST £700 was raised at a Christmas coffee morning where a charity demonstrated the incredible skills of their highly-trained assistance dogs.
Canine Partners provides disabled people with dogs who can carry out every-day tasks on their behalf – such as helping them dress, emptying washing machines and even using cash points.
Volunteers from the charity visited the charity’s Fareham support group’s Christmas coffee morning, at Titchfield Community Centre. They were joined by five assistance dogs and puppies.
Volunteer Sheena Wright, said: ‘This is not a charity just about dogs but about people. The dogs give their owners the confidence to do tasks for themselves without a carer and help bring people back into society again. People tell me that they think it’s cruel making a dog work but really the dogs think it’s a game.’
Once fully trained, they will know more than 100 commands, using only using positive reinforcement.
Tina Williams took along her dog, also called Tina. The two put on a show with Tina taking off her owner’s gloves, coat, hat and scarf on command.
She can also press pedestrian crossing buttons, tug to turn on light switches and collect wallets and keys. Tina is trained to untuck her owner from bed, help them to sit up, then help them out of bed by tugging on the bottom of their trousers and bring them their crutches. She can also help her owner empty their washing machine.
Mayor of Fareham, Councillor Connie Hockley, said: ‘Canine Partners do fantastic work. I would encourage people to give lots of money so we can keep it going.’
Jane Grant, Canine Partners’ community engagement manager, said: ‘The coffee morning was a fantastic success.
‘We’re incredibly grateful to the Fareham support group, the stallholders and everyone who came along to help raise money and awareness for Canine Partners.
‘We don’t get any government funding so we rely on events like this to raise the cash we need to provide more of our amazing dogs to transform the lives of disabled people.’ Go to caninepartners.org.uk