Sam the Schnauzer
Sam the Schnauzer
Sam, now 8, is a taller miniature schnauzer which is a non-shedding, lower/hypo-allergenic breed. He has shown himself to be a real star and through tough times with health changes and family losses, has always been by my side. He has travelled to London for appointments and isn’t fazed taking any mode of transport, be it buses, trains, underground, ferries or planes.
I retired from a healthcare profession due to multiple long-term health conditions and realised I could have our own dog trained with a charity with the Assistance Dogs UK coalition. Dog A.I.D. (Assistance In Disability) is a UK wide charity that provides specialised training for adults with physical disabilities to train their own pet dog to become accredited assistance dogs.
The main difference between Dog A.I.D. and other assistance dog training is that the owner learns how to train their own pet dog with the help of a volunteer professional dog trainer.
Training is designed to give a measure of independence, confidence and a new skill set. We were linked with a local professional dog trainer and behaviourist who volunteered their time and expertise.
There were regular sessions to attend and different levels of assessments to pass which were carried out by an independent examiner. We also had the opportunity to go to Stoke Mandeville to meet other clients and trainers several times a year.
We qualified on Remembrance Saturday in 2018, but have kept up training throughout, adding new tasks as needed and being regularly reassessed. Sam is never off duty, loves working and he’s a true life changer!
Sam helps with so many day-to-day tasks such as picking up dropped items like keys, bank cards, coins, my phone, or his lead, and finding the misplaced TV remote control.
He assists with loading the washing machine, helps me take off socks and fetches the post. He senses flare-ups of my chronic sinusitis infection, often meaning I can receive earlier treatment before it develops into a chest infection.
He loves helping and has an innate sense of when people need a bit of attention, sometimes gently offering a nose nudge.