Disability assistance dog Mungo was the canine guest of honour as a care home marked the end of a year’s fundraising for the charity that matched him with a New Forest woman.
Residents and staff at Colten Care’s Belmore Lodge in Lymington have raised more than £600 for Canine Partners through events such as a garden party, quiz nights and raffles.
At a cheque presentation at the home, they heard more about the work of the charity from volunteer Liz Downs and met Mungo and his partner Barbara Houston.
Canine Partners provides specially trained assistance dogs for disabled people. The dogs can unload the washing machine, pick up dropped items, help someone get undressed, press buttons and fetch help in an emergency.
Barbara, who lives in Bransgore, said her life had been transformed since she was matched with black Labrador Mungo six years ago. “He’s an amazing companion and lifesaver who brings joy to my world,” she said.
Liz, who lives in Hordle, explained how puppies undergo around two years’ training, learning tasks based on ‘touching, tugging and retrieving’ through play.
She said: “Fully trained dogs don’t forget what they learn and, once they are ready, we match them with a person living with a disability based on their temperament, skills and character.
“Every penny we receive in donations helps towards our goal of making a real difference to people’s lives.
“We are very grateful for the funds raised by the residents and staff here at Belmore Lodge.”
Canine Partners currently has 366 working partnerships across the UK. Each dog costs an average £20,000 from selection as a puppy to retirement at around 12 years of age. The figure equates to £4.56 a day
Belmore Lodge Activity Organiser Jackie Fergusson said: “It’s always our residents’ choice as to which charities they want to support every year. We were delighted to help Canine Partners as our main charity for 2016.”