On March 1st 2019, Living Life to the Fullest co-researcher Sally Whitney was featured in the Brighton Argus. The article, entitled How my dog changed my life for the better (McAllister, 2019), told Sally’s story of her experience of being partnered with her assistance dog, Canine Partner, Ethan.
Sally said, “Ethan does more for me than just tasks, he is a constant comfort – his unconditional love and constant desire for cuddles is a treatment in itself.”
“The tasks that Ethan does can be done by my carers, but being able to achieve them on our own, between me and Ethan, brings a fabulous sense of freedom.”
We reported in a blog post last week about Living Life to the Fullest’s new project with Canine Partners, a registered charity that partners specially trained assistance dogs with disabled people. The impact project, being led by Sally on behalf of Living Life to the Fullest, will evidence and quantify the benefits of assistance dogs for disabled young people. Living Life to the Fullest will then share this with multiple audiences: disabled young people and their parents, carers, families and allies; policy makers; commissioners; local authorities; and health, education and social care professionals. We are also hoping to make a short animated film with the support of our Community Research Partner, Purple Patch Arts, to narrate and animate young people’s stories about why their assistance dogs are so important to them, their lives and their futures.
Sally said, “Ethan has transformed my life so much. He’s shown me that I no longer need to reject the notion of my own disability. By accepting my illnesses and embracing my weaknesses, new realms of life have opened up. [Ethan] has bought so much happiness and so much colour to my life. I would have an incredibly hard time imagining my world without him.”