Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable degenerative disease, so I felt lost and a little alone when I was diagnosed with it in 2001.  Many daily tasks such as picking up dropped items, opening doors, gates and more become increasingly difficult.  Asking people to pass items to me, pick things up or open doors is a constant reminder of the condition, however kind people are. 


I was at a disability road show when I first met Canine Partners, who had a stand there.  After successfully being assessed and applying for a canine partner, I made a few visits to the National Training Centre in West Sussex to meet some dogs - which is where I hit it off with Daxi.  This was later followed by a two-week residential training course, where we learnt a tremendous amount and got to know each other properly.

Daxi is now with me 24 hours a day and we are never more than a few feet apart.  We know each other really well now and can read each other easily.  If I am feeling particularly bad, he’s right by my side keeping a close eye on me. 


I depend on him for all sorts of practical things.  He picks up things I drop such as my spectacles, cheque book, pens and money and he fetches things for me.  He opens gates and doors; he supports me if I fall.  However, just as important to me are the emotional and psychological benefits I get from the partnership.  He can tune in to my general mood every day and adjust his treatment of me as to how I feel.


Becoming disabled is a life changing experience.  Having been very active in the past, running my own business and being generally very busy, I now find myself on my own a great deal of the time and can feel very isolated.  Simple tasks become really challenging and I sometimes feel like it’s easier not to try.


With Daxi I have more structure to my day.  I have always loved getting out and about into the countryside, so walking Daxi twice a day gets me out again.  Having him with me gives me the confidence to go out more, to try new things and to meet people.  What’s more I feel safe and my wife is less worried now that he is with me.


I get periods of great pain, particularly late at night.  Daxi helps me through this by getting up and comforting me by sitting at my feet.  I am never alone, even if he is not doing a specific task.


Having Daxi with me transforms the way other people treat me.  It really eases the way strangers act towards me and gives us something positive to talk about.  Having him around really cheers me up, as he’s so full of life.  Seeing him thunder through the woods when he’s off duty really lifts my spirits - I may not be able to run about myself, but I can share the fun he has.


Daxi is a loyal and trusted friend.  Only recently I was teaching him to fetch my various shoes and slippers using treats to reinforce the lesson.  Later that same week my wife was buying slippers in a shoe shop, with me and Daxi in tow.  Suddenly as we entered the shop, Daxi had a concentrated and excited expression on his face.  He was looking at all the shoes and working out how many treats they would be worth if he brought them all to me!



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Latest News

Don't forget to purchase our limited edition 25th anniversary calendar
With limited stock remaining do not miss out on your chance to own the Canine Partners special 25th anniversary edition calendar.

Bright10 selects Canine Partners as its official partner of a new running race
Canine Partners is proud to be selected as an official partner of the new Bright10 race – and we are looking for dedicated runners to join our enthusiastic team.

Tails are wagging for puppies-in-training at Canine Partners thanks to free travel
Trainee assistance dogs at Canine Partners are having a paw-some time travelling on trains, thanks to the generosity of Abellio Greater Anglia which has provided free travel.

CEO's Blog

More dogs trained already and the intrepid CEO visits the big smoke (twice)

23 Jan

I don’t often get to put a suit on. Going to London Town always seems like a good excuse to pretend I’m a commuter, otherwise the dust tends to settle on the old dark blue M&S cloth. So the last two weeks have been pretty exciting, as I’ve had not just one but two occasions to take the train up from Sussex and get lost on the underground. The reason for the visits has been to visit venues where we are holding events this year in celebration of our 25th anniversary – the London Charterhouse looks amazing and will make a stunning backdrop for an event we will be holding in June, while the Cavalry and Guards Club looks similarly brilliant. We have been lucky enough to be granted a donation by the Club to allow us to put on an event there in September. Read more


Canine Partners’ Leicestershire Training Centre

Canine Partners needs to raise £3.1million to build a second Training Centre in order to train more dogs and change more lives.

We have purchased a site in a village called Osgathorpe, halfway between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Loughborough, which has a range of barns, outbuildings and associated land. The plan is to replace the barns and adapt some of the outbuildings to create the specialised buildings we need.

Having a Midlands Training Centre will not only increase our output, it will also make the charity far more accessible for those on our waiting list who are unable to make the long journey to our centre in West Sussex. 42% of the applications we received last year were from people living in the mid and northern regions of the UK. Many of our existing partnerships will also benefit from being able to receive support from the new centre.

The site will consist of a training centre and office facilities, fully accessible accommodation and kennelling.

This is an extremely exciting time for Canine Partners and we would be delighted to receive your support.

For more information about this project, please contact Cat Harvey on 01730 716018 or email catharvey@caninepartners.org.uk

Jobs available at the new centre will be advertised on our Vacancies page here: Work for us

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