We all know the amazing things dog do, from detecting cancer to simply providing comfort, and yet there is still so much they can do that we don't yet know.
Meet Marley. He's a three-year old Labrador Retriever who was being sold on a second-hand website that allows dogs to be sold and puppy farmers thrive.
Lucky for him, he was found by a national specialist assistance dog charity who have changed his life. And are giving him the chance to do the same thing for his new companion.
Marley had been living in his family’s garden and was rarely exercised. He arrived at Support Dogs with a nasty ear infection, affecting his hearing, and wasn’t used to being walked on a lead, was unfit and grew tired very quickly but he showed promise. He was extremely happy to be surrounded by people giving him bounds of attention and took to the Support Dogs training programme very easily.
Following 18 months of training Marley was paired up with Kym Stretton. Kym, who lives in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was born with Hypophosphatemia osteo malacia (vitamin D resistant rickets). It is a degenerative condition which causes constant pain and greatly affects her mobility, making even the simplest of everyday tasks difficult.
Pictured above, Kym with Marley
Marley is Kym’s fourth assistant dog. Prior to Marley, Kym’s pet dogs Zeta and Zoe were trained to assist her. Her third was Baxter, another Support Dog, who has recently retired.
Marley helps Kym with everyday tasks such as loading and unloading the washing machine, picking up items that Kym has dropped, helping her to dress and undress and being there to support her if she falls or gets into trouble.
Kym said: “Having an assistance dog has had such a massive impact on my life. Before I had a dog, I hadn’t left the house for over a year. I had no confidence and my family was worried about me. As soon as Zeta was trained to assist me, I had my life and my independence back and it is all thanks to Support Dogs.”
Kym found out about Support Dogs after watching a television programme about the charity and then subsequently meeting a Support Dogs client at a summer fete.
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Kym added: “I am so grateful that Support Dogs found Marley. He is such a laid back, loving and fun dog to have around. I can’t believe that anyone wouldn’t want him. He has come on leaps and bounds with his training and has been given a new purpose in life, which he relishes. I feel very lucky to have him.”
Danny Anderson from Support Dogs, said: “We work with a variety of dogs including those from rescue centres or unwanted pets. We don’t have our own breeding programme and love being able to give an amazing dog a second chance and transform them into a lifesaver”.
“Seeing the journey of a dog that was unwanted to being able to make such a positive impact on someone’s life is very special. We are delighted that Marley has completed his training successfully and wish him and Kym all the best for a long future together.”