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Rescue Dog Marley Qualifies As Assistance Dog

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Newly qualified Support Dog Marley

Newly qualified Support Dog Marley

An unwanted pet dog has made the transformation to specialist assistance dog thanks to national charity Support Dogs.

Three year old red Labrador retriever, Marley was being sold on second hand buy and sell website Preloved, after his owners could no longer look after him. The charity found his listing and went out to assess him.

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.

Marley 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, 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.

Kym and Marley

Kym and Marley

Marley is Kym’s fourth assistant dog. Before 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.

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, fundraising manager at 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 in to 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.”

Support Dogs is a national charity based in Sheffield that trains and provides specialist assistance dogs to support children and adults with disabilities, autism and epilepsy. To find out more & to donate, visit: https://supportdogs.org.uk.

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