My Week: Claire Anthony checks that her dogs are up to scratch

The aftercare supervisor at Canine Partners recounts her week

Claire Anthony
Claire Anthony

Monday: I take part in a partnership ceremony day - some of our disabled people and their dogs have returned to the training centre to spend time with everyone involved in the training of their canine partners. It's always an emotional day when you see a dog that started as a boisterous, headstrong puppy now working steadily with their disabled owner.

Tuesday: My golden retriever cross poodle Doyle and I visit a local college to show 60 engineering students how an assistance dog can help a person with a disability. Doyle can perform a range of tasks that our assistance dogs do, including taking my jacket off, unloading a washing machine and even taking a cash out of an ATM. We hope this will inspire the students to create and adapt items that would benefit disabled people. Treat dispensers, adapted toys and special pooper scoopers are on the list.

Wednesday: I am working with a disabled person and their new dog at their home. As usual, there are some little niggles to iron out, including reinforcing some of the commands when the dog is slow to respond. But it's great to see the disabled person now being able to rely on their canine partner to retrieve a special pouch containing life-saving medication and see the bond developing between them.

Thursday: I give one of our demonstrations at Tedworth House, the recovery centre for injured service personnel run by the charity Help for Heroes, and have brought some puppies. We have special links with the charity and have placed a lot of dogs with injured service personnel. Some of the puppies temporarily forget their training and run around madly. It's organised chaos, but the visits never fail to put a smile on everyone's face.

Friday: One of the downsides of the job is the paperwork. I catch up on the reports my team of aftercare assistants produce to make sure all our dogs are coming up to scratch. The afternoon is spent with the PR team trying to get some fun photographs of Doyle for our Facebook page.

Canine Partners trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities

Claire Anthony is aftercare supervisor at Canine Partners

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