Inspiring Stories

Super Stanley the life-saver

Specialist seizure response assistance dog Stanley is making a real difference to the life of 24-year-old Amy Williams, who has epilepsy.

Thanks to the constant support of black Labrador Stanley, Amy Williams now has her life back, and can look forward to a happier future.  Four-year-old Stanley graduated last year as Amy’s seizure response dog, provided and trained by national charity Support Dogs.

From rescue dog to hero dog

Meet Kevin, the ex-rescue centre dog from whose life is being turned around as he trains to become a hero support dog.

The yellow Labrador is in-training with the charity Support Dogs, after arriving from Dogs Trust last October.

He’s only two years old but already Kevin has been on quite a journey.

After his original owner was unable to care for him due to a change in their circumstances, the much loved dog was handed over to Dogs Trust Loughborough so that he could find a new permanent home. It was only a matter of days after he’d arrive that staff at the rehoming centre recognised the wonderful pooch’s potential and teamed up with Support Dogs, who often train ex-rescue centre dogs to become life-changing assistance dogs.

Pint-sized pooch Baby proves that size doesn’t matter

Perched sleepily on Kathy Wyld’s lap, little Baby hardly looks like a pooch with life-transforming powers.

The fluffy Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who is attending her eighth and final Crufts, is always a big attraction at the Support Dogs’ stand in Hall 2.

She sits on Kathy’s knee in her wheelchair, practically immobile, as crowds flock over to check that she’s a real dog, and not a stuffed toy.

How two seizure alert dogs transformed Lynn’s life with epilepsy

Lynn Ratcliffe was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1998 following a head injury. Her first seizure alert dog, Dougal retired in late 2014 and two years ago Lynn graduated with a Golden Retriever cross, Simba, as her new seizure alert dog. She explains the impact that Support Dogs has had on her life.

“When my GP suggested it might be epilepsy, I went into denial, it very difficult to accept.  The impact of seizures on my everyday life was huge. It affected me and my family quite dramatically, including my two teenage children. I lost my driving licence and the medication I was taking had nasty side effects and never gave me complete control of my seizures. Ultimately I lost my job as an assistant at a nursery, because of my epilepsy, which I found devastating.

Support dog Minta is still making the world accessible for Jacob

When he was eight years old Jacob Owens became the face of Support Dogs on the front cover of our Aura magazine, and in a series of posters and publicity material.

Jacob, from Peterborough, has a severe form of autism, and since the age of seven, his support dog Minta has been changing his life and opening up his world. From being an isolated and lonely boy, Jacob quickly became happier and calmer, able to go out to the shops or on family days out.

Living with a hidden disability

Support Dogs’ clients have a wide range of physical disabilities that may not be immediately obvious to the casual observer.

Young mum Casey Catlin, who has lived with severe arthritis since she was a toddler, knows better than most how outward appearances bear little reality to the levels of pain and disability she has to live with just about every day.