Page 1

Aura Support Dogs Charity Magazine

“ I suddenly realised I’m not grieving anymore for the son he was”

Edition 27

Read Cohen and Azerley’s Amazing Story

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: • Epilepsy Seizure Alert Dogs • Giving rescue dogs a second chance

• Sponsor a support dog

For Autism, For Epilepsy, For Disability

Taking up the challenge I am writing this having just returned from meeting a group of CVS Vets after they completed a gruelling trek of Hadrian’s Wall. It was a great event and I would highly recommend anyone to sign up for a similar challenge for Support Dogs. Great for team building and great for fitness and they all got to all relax together afterwards feeling proud of their achievements. Those who Support Dogs help face some of the most challenging medical conditions every day. It is a real frustration that we cannot yet meet the overwhelming demand and help all those who need our services. Over 600 individuals and families have contacted us asking for our help since our last magazine six months ago. However I am pleased to say our success continues and our income has grown. This is something we are immensely proud of and we urge more people to get involved with our charity at all levels and help move our cause forward. Two new trustees have joined us, Amy Goodson and and Katie Reed, both bring a wealth of experience. We are continuing to increase our geographical spread across the country and we are on the way to recruiting additional members of the team to support training and fundraising. I finish writing this with a huge degree of gratefulness to you all for your continued support and help, without this we would not exist. For those of you at the AGM you will no doubt recall my comments with regards to Support Dogs being a small charity where every penny goes back into the work we do. We take your hard work and support seriously and are eternally grateful and in particular to those who continue year on year to fundraise and spread the word. We can never thank you enough. Lastly I look forward to welcoming you all to the annual awards ceremony on 8 November. This is an exciting time of growth and development for the

charity and I am pleased you’re all involved in our success.

Rita Howson Chief Executive Details of some of the challenges you can take part in for Support Dogs are on page 6.

Could you be Support Dogs trustee? Our board of trustees is made up of volunteers from a range of backgrounds including business, healthcare, third sector and beneficiaries of the charity’s services. We are currently looking for new trustees to strengthen our board. This is at an exciting time for the charity as we move forward with a strategic plan for growth to meet the overwhelming need and demand for our services. We are currently looking specifically for trustees with a background in human resources or financial management.

About Support Dogs It’s Support Dogs’ passion and commitment to ensure that people affected by autism, epilepsy and physical disability can enjoy a greater level of independence. We aim to do this by providing, training and supporting Registered Assistance Dogs. We provide: Autism Assistance Dogs for children aged three to ten years with autism. The dogs are trained to provide safety for the child and reduce stress in social environments. Seizure Alert Dogs for people with epilepsy. The dogs are trained to provide a 100% reliable, 10-55 minute warning prior to the onset of an epileptic seizure, which enables their owner to get to a place of their choosing and take control of the situation. In some instances it has been reported that Seizure Alert Dogs have also been shown to reduce seizure frequency. Disability Assistance Dogs for people with physical disabilities. The client’s own pet dog is trained to perform tasks which are specifically tailored to their individual needs; examples of these tasks include: • Opening and closing doors • Raising the alarm • Fetching the post • Loading and unloading the washing machine

If you would like to be part of an inspiring, innovative charity that makes a positive life changing impact on the lives of children and adults living with some of the most challenging of conditions, please get in touch, email:

• Assisting with dressing and undressing



or visit www.supportdogs.org.uk

Support Dogs is a registered charity and does not charge for its services. However we rely entirely on voluntary donations and receive no government funding. Registered Charity Number: 1088281

Support Dogs 21 Jessops Riverside Brightside Lane Sheffield S9 2RX

info@supportdogs.org.uk www.supportdogs.org.uk FOLLOW US @supportdogsuk LIKE US supportdogsuk1 To sponsor a dog today call Support Dogs on

0114 261 7800 or to donate by SMS, text

SDOG15 £5 to 70070 Staff from CVS Vets having just taken on the Hadrian’s Wall challenge

Kate, her pet dog Banjo and Ernie her Support Dog

Picture provided by: Worcester News

The lick of Life Kate Arnett’s Disability Assistance Support Dog Ernie and her pet dog Banjo went above and beyond their everyday duties this summer by resuscitating her after her oxygen mask slipped off during the night and she slipped into a comatose state. Kate suffers from multiple physical

noticed her breathing difficulties and

occasions where they have saved my

and neurological disabilities including

raced over to wake her up by licking

life, so initially, I didn’t appreciate the

a paralysed diaphragm which makes

her face.

severity of the situation as they do

breathing difficult and has resulted in her constant need for oxygen.

long without the oxygen and Ernie

save my life on a daily basis in many different ways,” Kate explained.

At night she is propped at a 45

and Banjo must have heard the

Kate suffers from antiphospholipid

degree angle and wears an oxygen

change in my breathing and so took

syndrome, a condition of the immune

mask. On the night in question, she

charge of waking me up.”

system that causes an increased

had slipped down the bed and the mask had become dislodged. Her husband of 11 years, Gavin, lying next to her was oblivious to her perilous state, but thankfully, her assistance dogs ten-year-old Labrador Ernie and Banjo, a two-year-old Labrador, had


Kate said: “I wouldn’t have lasted

For the next three days, following her near death experience, Kate was bed-bound, felt sick and suffered from severe headaches. Once she

risk of blood clots. She has endured strokes and bleeding due to the anticoagulant drugs used to treat her disorder.

recovered, she realised that she owed

Her disabilities began over 25 years

her life to her two dogs: “I have to

ago when she was hit by a car after it

admit, that this was one of many

mounted the pavement in York.

Thanks to the assistance of Support

Kate said: “Banjo has learned so

Despite her ongoing health issues,

Dogs, Kate is able to maintain

much from Ernie and he and I have

Kate remains positive about her

independence in her day-to-day

established a strong bond. As a

future and gives full credit to her

life including help with fetching

result, he will remain with us as

‘furry carers’ who enable her to

and carrying tasks, assisting with

part of the family but another dog,

continue her hobbies which include

getting dressed and even

trained by Support Dogs, will join

playing the tenor horn in a band.

answering the phone.

us. The Support Dogs jacket, worn

At present, Kate is going through a transition phase with her dogs as Ernie is retiring after almost a decade of dogged devotion. Banjo was planned as his replacement but unfortunately, Banjo didn’t pass Support Dogs’ rigorous examination and so a further dog, will be joining the dynamic duo.

by qualified dogs, is hard won and demonstrates a level of training achieved by only the very best dogs.

Kate puts on concerts as part of Worcester Concert Brass to raise funds and awareness of Support Dogs.

This means that they are allowed

She said: “Having a Support Dog

into places where family pets are

saves lives in numerous different

not and shops and other facilities

ways on a daily basis. What

expect to be able to trust the jacket

happened to me just demonstrates

as a visible endorsement of a

the incredible bond that is created

dog’s training.”

between us and man’s best friend.”

Support Dogs pilot child disability programme Over the past year Support Dogs have been piloting an alternative version of the charity’s established Disability Assistance Programme. This pilot is specifically aimed to train a family’s pet dog to be the Disability Assistance Dog for a child within that family who has a physical disability. Previously Support Dog’s disability programme has only been for those aged 18 years or older. A family from Somerset was selected to pilot this programme with the charity. Sammy, aged 10, was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This is the most serious and disabling form of cerebral palsy-affecting the entire body. For Sammy, his condition means he is physically able to do little for himself without the support of his parents. He needs help doing all of life’s essential tasks including getting dressed and

undressed, brushing his teeth, washing and drying. As well as this he is unable to enjoy the same social life as other children. The severity of Sammy’s disability meant he was rarely invited to parties and wasn’t involved in outside activities and clubs. Sammy’s mother Maxine was looking at a way she could help change her son’s life when she came across the article about Support Dogs’ pilot project. She knew their pet yellow Labrador dog Bengy would be perfect to be trained as Sammy’s Disability Assistance Dog. “Sammy had no personal freedom and very little privacy. A family member had to help with every part of his day, from first thing in the morning to going to bed at night. As he grew older this lifestyle was becoming more frustrating and damaging to his mental well being. We were desperate to find a way to increase his independence.

“Support Dogs have trained our pet dog Bengy to become Sammy’s assistance dog. He helps him get up in the morning, get dressed, turn his lights on and off, open and close doors, picks up dropped items for him, gets Sammy’s bags, books, medication and iPad. When Sammy drops something or if he falls Bengy is there. “Sammy now has much more of a social life, he can go places with friends and family such as bowling and the cinema, knowing he is going as an equal and not reliant on their support as he has Bengy with him.” Rita Howson, Chief Executive of Support Dogs said: “Our charity is currently reviewing the success of this pilot and any decision to expand the programme will be greatly reliant on resources and the availability of further funding. However it is clear this project has had a hugely positive impact on the lives of Sammy and his family. Well done Bengy.”

DO SOMETHIN We are looking for people to do something amazing while raising vital funds for our charity. The following are just some of the events that you can take part in to raise funds for Support Dogs. For more details visit www.supportdogs.org.uk or phone 0114 261 7800.

Ben Nevis Trek: 25 June & 1 October 2016 Trek to the top of Britain on this exciting weekend charity challenge conquering Ben Nevis! Our challenge takes us into the heart of the breathtaking Western Highlands, in order to conquer the highest peak in Britain set at 1,343m (4,409ft) above sea level. Our trail to the summit is technically easy, but trekking Ben Nevis is a strenuous challenge – stamina and determination are a must! The stunning views of the highlands will be with us all the way and provide a fantastic backdrop. Minimum sponsorship £490

London to Paris Cycle Ride: 8 to 12 June or 14 to 18 September 2016 Starting in London, our 300 mile, four day route takes us through glorious English countryside to the ferry from Dover to Calais. Once ‘French side’, we push on cycling along quiet French country lanes, through traditional market towns with views of the rolling green hills of northern France. Get ready for a fantastic charity bike ride – the tarmac in France is superb, and cycling is the nation’s favourite sport so don’t be surprised when the locals make way for you and cheer you on! Minimum sponsorship level £1470 6

Great North Run – Gateshead: 11 September 2016 The Great North Run is the world’s largest half marathon event. Taking place in Newcastle, Support Dogs have guaranteed places for anyone who can raise a minimum of £250 in sponsorship for the charity. Minimum sponsorship level £250

Great Yorkshire Run - Sheffield: September 2016 (Day TBC) Since the first event in 2007 thousands of runners, joggers and walkers have taken on the Morrisons Great Yorkshire Run in aid of fitness, fundraising and fun. Every year Sheffield lives up to its reputation as a hotbed of musical talent, with local bands entertaining and motivating runners along the 10k. The event includes the Morrisons Junior and Mini Great Yorkshire Run, with 1.5k and 2.5k distances for kids aged three and over. Support Dogs have guaranteed places for anyone who can raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship for the charity. Minimum sponsorship target £100 For more details please email: info@supportdogs.org.uk or phone: 0114 261 7800 Many more events and challenges are listed at: www.supportdogs.org.uk

NG AMAZING! Could you be a Bucket Shaker? We organise a large number of supermarket collections in South Yorkshire. We often in need of volunteers to help with this. A list of dates is found on our website at www.supportdogs.org.uk. If you would like to volunteer with this please email: info@suppordogs.org.uk

London Marathon Walk: 24 September 2016 Take on a 26 mile trek through London. From the Olympic Park, pass famous sights including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral as we walk through the heart of the city. This is a tough one-day event through the urban landscape; at approx 26 miles, it forms an enormous challenge for walkers. There will be full support throughout the challenge with marshals and water stops along the route. Wheelchair accessible. Minimum sponsorship £120

Can your Business give us more bark? Your business can make a lasting change to the lives of adults and children affected by autism, epilepsy and physical disability. There are lots of different ways that companies support us from donation to our ongoing work, to sponsoring the annual costs to the charity of a support dog working in your local area, to donating a percentage of sales or assisting us with pro-bono help. Businesses like Sheffield Mutual raise funds for our work by donating every time customers purchase a financial packages with them and every time someone likes them on Facebook. Burns Pet Nutrition are donating to our training costs but also providing free nutritional advice for our clients and trainers and subsidising the cost of food. Costain and Irwin Mitchell and assist us with marketing, while CVS vets and Sheffield Chamber of commerce are among those who have chosen as their charity of the year. Innovative, life changing and inspiring please get in touch to find out how your business could be involved with Support Dogs.

Skydiving any day, across the UK!

Working with Schools and Community groups

The ultimate thrill for adrenaline junkies and a great way to raise funds to transform someone’s life. Raise sponsorship for Support Dogs and freefall skydive from 10,000 feet, while strapped to a fully qualified BPA instructor.

Support Dogs is very grateful for the wonderful support we receive from a number of schools and community groups that we have received over the past year. If you would be interested in your school, rotary, WI, Inner Wheel, golf or any other community group being involved and learning more about Support Dogs’ work please phone 0114 261 7800 or email danny.anderson@supportdogs.org.uk

You can skydive from a number of airfields across the UK.

Minimum sponsorship £395


Oreo - Support Dog in training

In search of heroes Support Dogs’ dogs come from a wide range of backgrounds and the charity doesn’t have its own breeding programme. Some of the dogs the charity source come from the guide dogs breeding centre. So when a dog is identified whose personality and skill sets are better matched to being an Autism Assistance or Seizure Alert Dog rather than a guide dog. Support Dogs also focuses its skills

to put a collar around his neck he

and resources in talent spotting

would cower and turn away, he was

hidden stars from rescue centres

extremely weary of people moving

across the country and from

their hand over his head or the rear

pet dogs who are needing to be

of his body. Sadly, all these reactions


strongly indicated that Oreo was

One dog that Support Dogs have been working with this year is Oreo. His start in life was not the best. In fact, it could not have been worse for poor Oreo. Unfortunately we do not know much of Oreo’s life before Barnsley and District Animal Welfare Rescue Home, as he was found tied to a street lamp post in Barnsley; starving, mistreated and petrified.

Oreo will give someone a second chance of a happy life and has been given a second chance of a happy life himself; and he loves every minute of it.

home. It was heartbreaking for his trainers to see how sad and scared he was of people; but they knew

If you have or know of a pet

they could they change his life.

dog that is needing to be

Through hours of affection, reassurance and confidence building from his dedicated trainer, Oreo has blossomed and his confidence has rocketed; instead of cowering away from people he now loves their attention, he is constantly asking for

When our trainers arrived at the

people’s attention and cuddles. The

rescue centre they were surprised to

sad and weary boy is now a happy,

see that Oreo was the only dog not

loving and cheeky dog.

barking furiously at them; in fact he

rehomed, then perhaps you might consider Support Dogs. We are currently looking for dogs aged between 10 months and 3 years. Helen Wright explains; “We are looking for dogs who simply confident and happy with people and other dogs. All dogs will be assessed before being accepted by

Oreo adores pleasing people and

the charity and some specific

their affection which has made

breeds may not be suitable for

him an excellent candidate for the

our programmes.”

Disability Assistance Programme;

If you can help please phone

and he’s already surpassing all

0114 261 7800 or email:

Oreo arrived at Support Dogs

expectations and is a top pupil.


Training Centre with extremely

Soon this brave dog will be

low confidence. If a trainer tried

changing the life of someone

was happy to see people and had a very clean kennel, which led the trainers to believe that Oreo was originally a pet dog.


physically abused in his previous

with a challenging disability.

Foster caring for Support Dogs Support Dogs is always in need of foster carers to help our dogs in training. Each day, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, the dogs ‘come to school’ to do their training at our centre in Sheffield. We have dogs that need fostering from anything between a one week to a 12 month period. Simon and Hayleigh began foster

the rewards you get from watching

caring with Support Dogs earlier this

a dog develop new skills that in

year. We asked how they have found

turn will mean someone can live a

the experience:

life that so many take for granted

Why did you first volunteer as a foster carers? “We have always wanted a dog, but

is priceless. And then you can look forward to fostering another one. Support Dogs has changed our lives and now there is no turning back.”

could not commit due to the care that would be required during the day as we both don’t work near home. “Being a foster carer with Support Dogs gave us the perfect opportunity of adding a pet to our family, with all the convenience of needing to go to ‘school’ at the

food, vet care, flea and worming treatments; we offer full support and have our 24 hour emergency phone line.

a secure garden, can commit to

We are looking for foster carers

attend our training days, are willing

near our national training centre in

to follow our training advice,

Sheffield. Ideally we would like you

and are willing to offer a loving

to be able to drop off and pick up

environment for our dogs to be in

from our location at S9 2RX near

to help them achieve their goal of

Meadowhall Sheffield.

being an assistance dog.

We have dogs that need fostering from anything between a few weeks,

“Support Dogs made the process so

foster carer will need including

Could you be a foster carer

during working hours.”


We provide all equipment the

We ask that foster carers have

Support Dogs training centre,

What support did you get from the

More information

a few months and occasionally up to a year. Perfect for someone who works full time but still would like to

exercising the dog, will be able to

To find out more visit: www.supportdogs.org.uk or email: 0114 261 7800

enjoy the company of a dog.

easy we have never been nervous or unsure what to do. The charity run information/training sessions for foster carers before you get your dog and this answers many of your questions and gives you first-hand experience of how to work with a dog and some of the commands to use.” What tasks are you asked to do? “Ultimately we are the play family - the down time, so we get all the fun parts. We get regular tips and advice from the trainers should they want a dog to concentrate on a particular skill. Support dogs provide everything a dog will need including food, leads, bedding and food bowls. “When the time comes for the dog to leave us it is difficult. However


Walking bare foot in the sand 7 year old Cohen has a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum condition, global developmental delay, hearing impairment and complex epilepsy as well as other health issues. Last September Austism Assistance Dog Azerley began working with Cohen and his family. Mum Sarah tell us about the impact this has had.

Cohen started to regress in his speech and eye contact at around 18 months. It was heartbreaking for us to see our once happy, carefree little boy become very anxious and non-verbal. He totally shut down into his own world. He would struggle to focus on anything and didn’t even respond to his name. He began to have frequent ‘meltdowns’ and at the age of five he began to bite his hand in frustration. Before Azerley joined our family, life was very difficult for us all but especially for Cohen. Cohen really struggled to go out anywhere, the noises and people caused him great anxiety. We depended on his specialneeds pushchair to keep him safe because he has no sense of danger. He would either ‘bolt’, running straight onto the road in front of traffic or fall to the floor. Cohen is extremely sensitive to noises. He is unable to filter sounds so every noise is the same volume, whether it be the sound of a siren or the buzzing of a lightbulb. He puts his fingers in his ears and will cry.

struggled to focus on anything and did not show any interest in animals so we had very little expectation regarding Cohen interacting with a dog. What was the initial impact after Azerley first qualified? On the first day Azerley arrived Cohen became instantly calmer, his anxiety levels reduced so dramatically that he stopped biting his hand, something he had done for a over a year when he became frustrated. Since that day Cohen has never bitten his hand once! The first few attachment walks with Azerley were eventful as Cohen had to learn how to walk sensibly. This had a huge impact on me as I realised we needed Azerley not only to keep Cohen safe but also to teach him behaviour that is socially acceptable.

partnership progressed? What experiences have you had this year? This first year with Azerley has exceeded any expectations we had. Cohen was mostly non-verbal and initially we taught Azerley a few signs so Cohen could communicate with him but incredibly Cohen started to use words and phrases. Since then Cohen’s language has improved so much he can now sing! We are now able to go out as a family. We have been to the cinema and visited museums. Cohen even built his first ever sand castle on the beach! He is showing more interest in his peers and he has even started to initiate play with his big brother

What is the best thing about Azerley? I was looking back at the photos of the many amazing ‘firsts’ Cohen has accomplished with Azerley and I suddenly realised I’m not grieving anymore for the son he was. Cohen is overcoming so many boundaries to his learning, his sensory issues and to understanding the world around him.

family. What were your expectations when you started the programme?


How has Cohen and Azerley’s

Joshua, which is fantastic!

For our older son Joshua it became very difficult as he longed for us to have ‘normal ‘ family outings such as a visit to the cinema or to go bowling. We found ourselves becoming extremely isolated and unable to go out as a

I had read how autism assistance dogs had helped families in various ways and just as each child is unique so is each partnership, so I did not know what to expect. Cohen

engaged in the world around him. No longer in his own ‘little world’, Cohen started to make eye contact with us and to interact with his surroundings.

Azerley is the key to helping Cohen integrate and to build essential life skills. We noticed that Cohen became much more involved and

Cohen now has the confidence at least to try most things, to speak, to sing, to walk bare foot on the sand! While celebrating all these successes, something unknowingly has happened to me, my heart no longer aches. I now know that Cohen will fulfil his true potential, whatever that may be.

“No longer in his own little world, Cohen started to make eye contact�

Lacey’s legacy In November 2008 Support Dog’s first ever Autism Assistance Dog graduated. Golden Labrador Lacey was partnered with Joe, a four-year-old boy with autism living near Dundee and his mum Paula. Sadly Lacey died earlier this year; however she has left behind a legacy that not only has transformed the lives of Joe and his family, but also the lives of other families throughout the UK. We asked Paula to tell us a bit more about Lacey. Life before Lacey was terrifying and stressful: Joe could only say a handful of words. He didn’t understand dangerous situations, for example busy roads and traffic and because he wouldn’t allow you to hold his hand or even direct him with words, it made going out of the house extremely dangerous. We placed pictures and photos around the house so he could point or show us what he needed but when we left the house to go to the shops or the doctors, noise and crowds stressed him and he would run off or just stop and sit down and cry or scream. When out in public, the general reaction to him by strangers was ‘what a naughty boy’ or ‘can you not control him’, it was the invisible disability. We had no life as a family, life revolved around Joe only. From the moment we paired Joe and Lacey the difference in Joe’s behaviour was instant, because no-one was holding him or restraining him he relaxed. He was like a different boy. The stress of leaving the house was gone. When we were in public people could see that Joe was different because of Lacey. People approached us, asked questions and spoke to Joe which was amazing. Joe went from being an introvert to an extrover.t By giving Lacey commands and not Joe he learnt through Lacey. He copied her, so over the years with Lacey he learnt road safety. We knew that pressuring Joe with words, asking or trying to get him to do things was stressful, so instead we spoke to Lacey. And he was listening, he gradually spoke more, became part of our family instead of sitting on his own and being distant from us. The difference was so extreme from before Lacey to now that people are amazed when they meet him, they can’t believe that he is the same boy. Joe is now 11 and has just started secondary school. Significantly this is the first time in his life he has been able to attend a mainstream school. We could never have imagined eight years ago he would progress to a stage where this would be possible. He goes to the cinema every Saturday, goes to a youth group every Monday and swimming and Karate. He has a better social life than we do. And it would never have happened without Lacey. Lacey retired in February and died suddenly on 19th July. She was the gentlest and most elegant dog I have ever met and we are devastated that Lacey has gone but are also so thankful to have had her in our lives. She has given us as a family a life and Joe has a future of possibilities to look forward to. Support Dogs autism assistance is for children aged between three and ten with a confirmed diagnosis of autism. Due to the huge impact that the Support Dogs Autism Programme has, the charity is overwhelmed with requests for the service. Every eight hours we receive a plea for help. This charity is entirely funded by voluntary donations. Joe after he was first matched with Lacey in 2008 and seven years later attending a main stream secondary school

Could an Epilepsy Seizure Alert Dog transform your life? Seizure Alert Dogs are trained to give a 100% reliable up to 50 minute warning before an epileptic seizure. It gives their owner real control of their condition, enabling them to get to a place of safety and privacy before they have a seizure. It has enabled many of our clients for the first time to able to leave their home and live a more independent life, safe in the knowledge they will receive a warning before a seizure affects them. In some instances it has been reported that Seizure Alert Dogs have also been shown to reduce seizure frequency. If you, or someone you know, is over the age of 16 years and has a confirmed diagnosis of epilepsy, maybe a Seizure Alert Dog could be the next step. To apply for a Seizure Alert Dog you must fit within certain criteria, which include: • You must have a six month diary of your seizures prior to sending in an application • You must experience at least ten major seizures per month •

You must not have had any changes to your medication six months before sending in your application and it must not change throughout the training period (if accepted)

If you, or someone you know, fits the criteria above, why not contact us for an information pack. Call: 0114 261 7800 or email: info@supportdogs.org.uk

Amy hopes one day to have her own Support Dog


Amy’s story Every eight hours Support Dogs receives a call from an individual in need of the charity’s support. Amy Williams is currently on Support Dogs’ waiting list for an Epilepsy Seizure Alert Dog. Amy is hoping to start training soon and we asked her more about her condition and how she hopes her seizure alert dog will help her. Can you tell us a bit about your epilepsy? My epilepsy started after I had chickenpox encephalitis as a young child. To begin with I had generalised seizures but now I suffer from something called startle epilepsy. This means that when I am surprised or ‘startled’ by a loud noise or sound I can have a short lived fit. This can happen two or three times a day and sometimes at night. My body jerks out on one side meaning that anything I’m holding can get thrown across the room. Once I covered my Dad in pot noodles! I’m on lots of tablets for my epilepsy and also have an implant to help control my fits. What has been the impact on your life of having epilepsy? I went to a mainstream school but I needed a lot of support and it was really difficult. After that, I attended the National Star College for three years. Since leaving I have become rather

isolated because there are no community based resources for people with my kind of problems. I’d really like to work but my complex needs mean that’s not feasible. I did attend a Prince’s Trust course which was fantastic and I was sad when it ended. I’m reliant on carers and support from my family but would like to be more independent. It is difficult to get out of the house alone as a wheelchair user with epilepsy. I have good days and bad days. I get angry and frustrated with myself. What do you hope to get from your Support Dog? Independence may seem an overused word, but when you are reliant on others it means everything to you. I hope my Support Dog will help me to take more control of my life, get out of the house more and make day to day tasks much more manageable without the need of other people. To have a Support Dog that could alert my parent or carers if I was having a fit, would not only be life changing, but also potentially life saving, particularly at night. Finally I am also just looking forward to the responsibility of looking after my dog and the companionship involved as well. Loneliness can be something of a dark shadow that follows those with a disability around. I hope my support dog will be my light that will shine through this. I am really excited about meeting my Support Dog and can’t wait for the challenge of training.

Great ways to raise funds for Support Dogs

Give as you Live is a shopping

Support Dogs have teamed up

Did you know you can auction

and price comparison website

with Utility Warehouse. They can

your unwanted items on Ebay

with a heart. You can shop for

not only reduce your monthly

and ask for the money raised to

products from thousands of

utility bills but will also donate a

come to Support Dogs?

leading online retailers including

percentage to the charity.

Amazon, Ebay and John Lewis

Less trouble than a car boot sale

Switch your utility bills to the

and you raise funds from the

Select Support Dogs as your

Utility Warehouse Discount Club

comfort of your own home.

charity and a percentage of

and they will give a donation of up

every purchase you make will be

to 5% of your household bill every

www.ebay.co.uk/ ebayforcharity/sell

donated to us.

month to Support Dogs.


www.utilitywarehouse.org. uk/k57137

Super Draw

Gifts in your Will

By playing the Super Draw Lotto weekly,

Donations made to Support Dogs by those

usually drawn on a Saturday, you can help

who have kindly remembered our charity in

us to transform the lives of those affected by autism,

their will make a vital contribution to our work.

epilepsy and disability. You will also be giving yourself an opportunity of winning some of the fantastic weekly cash prizes on offer. For just £2 per week you will receive two entries in the draw to win the following prize fund:.

If you are writing or updating you will, please do consider whether you could leave a donation to Support Dogs within it. We have teamed up with Red Apple Law to provide a discounted will writing and legal

1 x £2,000 top prize

service for our supporters. Red Apple will also make

2 x £250

a donation to Support Dogs every time

3 x £100

you use them.


80 x £10 www.supportdogs.org.uk/super-draw

Collection Boxes

Charity of the Year Can your business or organisation give us more bark? Your business, club or organisation can make a

We need your help to get our

lasting change, especially by choosing us as their

collection boxes in shops and businesses in your local

charity of the year.

area. Then after a few months we’ll need you to go

From sponsoring a Support Dog in your

back, empty the boxes and send us the funds.

local area, to office fundraising, to

Not only raising vital funds, but also vital awareness

donating gifts in kind and services,

of our charity.

we would love your support.

Please email:

Email danny.anderson@ supportdogs.org.uk

info@supportdogs.org.uk if you can help.


Every penny left to Support Dogs in your will makes a difference Almost 25% of all donations made to Support Dogs are through people who have kindly remembered our charity in their will. These donations provide a vital contribution to our work and enable more people to benefit.

Smile left by Val Bembridge 13.07.15

Family outing left by Chloe Gardner 02.08.13

Child safety harness left by Kathlen Draper 16.06.15

Trained autism assistance dog left by Joan Horrocks 20.08.12

Relaxed mum left by Freda Saunders 27.06.14

However only 42% of adults in the UK have made a will. By making a will you can decide what you would like to leave to family and friends and whether you would like to leave a gift to those charities whose work you care about. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to make a will and Support Dogs have teamed up with Red Apple Law to make the process easier. Visit www. supportdogs.org.uk/legacy for more details about remembering Support Dogs in your will or phone Danny on 0114 261 7800.

Fantastic fundraising Hundreds of supporters have been helping us over the past year to raise vital funds for our charity. Very sadly it is not possible to thank nearly enough of you in our magazine. However here is just a taster of some of the different ways that some of you very kind people have helped: Gordon Franks Ltd raised £240 by holding a coffee morning.

Team Bangor Royal Mail raised over £6000 through a bike ride in memory of Simon Williams. Worcester Concert Brass raised £600 through fundraising at concerts in aid of the charity. Rob Hornby raised £1325 through collections at non league football grounds.

Sacha Rukaber raised £150 with a sponsored head shave and dye. Royal Society of St George raised £582 for equipment. Medway Vetinary Centre raised over £600 through organising a dog show.


Wendy Robinson and her nieces raised £50 through saving up their 5ps. Margaret Kemp and Lisa Ward raised £30 through selling greeting cards. Christine and Peter James raised £3500 in memory of their son Alex. Staff from Westlands School in Kent raised over £1500 through skydiving. Azerley Clay Shoot raised £17,000 for the charity through their annual event.

Support Dogs Merchandise


Gift Cards




Tree Decorations 

Christmas Cards

A little woof for your tree

Murdoch the Support Dog

4 designs in a pack of 8

Button Badge

Dog Brooches


Order Form



Christmas Cards Pack of 8



Christmas Tree Decoration: Dalmatian



Christmas Tree Decoration: Fox terrier


Christmas Tree Decoration: Black Lab


Dog Brooch (Choose colour)








Postcode Tel

Button Badge


Murdoch the Support Dog Mascot


£5 Gift Card


£10 Gift Card


£20 Gift Card





Please complete the form and return with a cheque payable to Support Dogs to:

N/A Total:


Support Dogs, 21 Jessops Riverside, Brightside Lane, Sheffield, S9 2RX or order online at: www.supportdogs.org.uk


Sponsor a Support Dog Transform the lives of children and adults affected by epilepsy autism and physical disabilities by sponsoring a support dog, for as little as ÂŁ1 per week. You can sponsor any of the dogs below or visit our website www.supportdogs.org.uk to see more.



Breed: Bischon Frise Job: Disability Assistance Dog Home: London Birthday: 11 May


Breed: Yellow Lab Job: Autism Assistance Dog Home: South Yorkshire Birthday: 5 August


Breed: Black Lab Job: Seizure Alert Dog Home: Kent Birthday: 21 August


Breed: Jack Russell Job: Disability Assistance Dog Home: Lancashire Birthday: 24 October


Breed: Flat Coat Retriever Job: Seizure Alert Dog Home: North Wales Birthday: 8 June

It can take up to two years to train a puppy to be a support dog. They come from a range of sources including rescue centres and rehomed pets.

When you decide to sponsor a dog you’ll receive three updates a year, a sponsorship pack including a special photo certificate of your new pal and a FREE soft toy! 18

I would like to sponsor a Support Dog DIVA


For Myself


As a Gift





Giftee Name & Address

Make a Difference with a One-Off Donation.


£5 I’d like to donate by:



Debit/Credit Card

Cheque (Payable to Support Dogs)

Tel Card No

Email Monthly Amount: £4



Card Holder Name



Other Valid From

Exp. Date

Bank Name & Address

Acc No. Acc No.

Sort Code

CV2 no (3 digits)

Payable to: Lloyds TSB, 14 Church Street, Sheffield, S1 1HP. The account of Support Dogs Ltd A/c No. 03938225 Sort Code: 30-97-51 or please send a cheque payable to Support Dogs to the address below.

Sort Code Signature:

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Make your donations worth more at no extra cost to you! Simply fill out the declaration below and we can claim the tax back on your subscriptions and donations.

YES - Please claim Gift Aid on all donations I have made in the last four calendar years, and until further notice.



To qualify for Gift Aid, what you pay in income tax or capital gains tax must at least equal the amount we will claim in the tax year (currently 25p for every £1 donated). Please notify Support Dogs if you wish to cancel this declaration. Please send completed forms to:

Support Dogs, 21 Jessops Riverside, Brightside Lane , Sheffield, S9 2RX

Thank you for your support

Profile for Support Dogs

Support Dogs Aura magazine Autumn/winter 2015  

Support Dogs Aura magazine Autumn/winter 2015

Support Dogs Aura magazine Autumn/winter 2015  

Support Dogs Aura magazine Autumn/winter 2015