Assistance dog charity ‘transforms’ man’s life

Martin Smailes and Keith the labrador were partnered in 2014
Martin Smailes and Keith the labrador were partnered in 2014

A LECTURER from Chichester College has thanked an assistance dog charity for ‘transforming’ 
his life.

Martin Smailes, who is deputy head of learning for engineering at the college, was partnered with Keith, a yellow labrador, in February 2014 by Heyshott-based Canine Partners.

Martin said: “In 1997 and following six weeks in hospital for a spinal injury, I found myself confined to a wheelchair – I had always been a very active person and was determined not to let this get me down.

“I have been aware of Canine Partners for many years, and after lots of discussion and the harsh realisation how insular my life had become, I applied in December 2012, and shortly after I was invited for my first meeting and assesment.

“In late 2013, I received a call informing me there was a possible match, and when the trainer brought Keith in, I knew instantly that this was the dog for me.

“The change in my life was almost instant, Pam and I could not believe it –how could this handsome 
cheeky chap make such a difference?

“Both at home and at work Keith would just continually amaze us with his ability to understand what I needed, and he loves to be busy.

“To say Keith has transformed my life would be an understatement – he has changed my life from one of increasing solitde to a bright, fun-filled, enthusiastic and confident-looking future.

“I can’t thank Canine Partners enough, and most of all Keith, an amazing dog.”

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