Residents at a dementia care home said hello to an ‘amazingly clever’ disability assistance dog that has transformed the life of a New Forest woman.
Nine-year-old Mungo and his partner Barbara Houston visited Colten Care’s Linden House to say thank-you for supporting the charity that brought the pair of them together.
Dogs specially trained by Canine Partners live with disabled people. They perform essential tasks such as fetching food from the fridge, picking up dropped items, raising the alarm in an emergency and helping their partner get dressed and undressed.
Staff and residents at Linden House enjoy regular animal companionship themselves through visits from dogs and their handlers and decided to raise money for Canine Partners after hearing that the charity relies purely on donations.
Fetes and cake stalls at the home raised more than £225 which was presented to Barbara and fellow volunteer Liz Downs.
Barbara, who lives in Bransgore and was matched with black Labrador Mungo seven years ago, said: “He’s an amazingly clever companion and has helped make me completely independent. My husband can go out when he likes and doesn’t have to worry about me being alone at home. Mungo also brings a smile to me when we are out for a walk because people talk to you when you have a dog with you. That’s really nice for people like me who use a wheelchair. I don’t think I could manage without Mungo now.”
Liz said Canine Partners had created more than 400 partnerships across the country but there were currently 180 people on the waiting list.
She said the Linden House contribution would help feed a dog in training for a whole year, adding: “We are very grateful for every penny as it all helps towards our goal of making a real difference to people’s lives.”
Rose McGuirk, a member of the companionship team at Linden House, said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed raising money for Canine Partners and welcoming Mungo was the icing on the cake. We actively encourage visits from friendly, well-behaved dogs like him. It just goes to show that living in a care home is no barrier to maintaining a love of dogs.”
The cheque presentation followed a live sing-along performance by New Forest-based singer and guitarist Nigel Revill.
As well as Canine Partners, residents and staff at Linden House have supported Children in Need, the Alzheimer’s Society and Oakhaven Hospice Trust through activities in the last year.
Family-owned Colten Care has a policy of enabling residents in all 20 of its homes to continue community links and help worthy causes of their choice.