Arthur the puppy reports for duty to help former Shropshire soldier
For most people Arthur the springer spaniel puppy looks like a cute companion and welcome addition to any household, but for Clive Smith the young dog could be a lot more than that.
Clive, a 34-year-old former soldier who lives near Shrewsbury, is a double above-knee amputee after being injured while on tour with the British Army in Afghanistan.
Arthur joined Clive and his wife Jennifer a week ago and the puppy will be trained to help his owner with every day tasks. The training will be supported by the Shrewsbury charity Dog Assistance in Disability – Dog A.I.D.
The young pup could make a huge difference to Clive's everyday life, by helping him with tasks from fetching the post to helping unload the washing machine.
Dog A.I.D. is one of the charities which will be benefitting from the Shropshire Virtual Show, which takes place on Saturday, August 22.
Clive, a former Royal Engineer, was injured when stepping on an IED while on active service in Afghanistan on October 13, 2010.
He explained what a difference Arthur could make to his life, and said he is eager to start the process of training the pup.
He said: "After some years of rehabilitation and revolutionary surgery in 2016, I am able to walk on prosthetic legs and rarely have to use a wheelchair. However the biggest obstacle for me in everyday life is picking things up from the ground.
“I do not have the ability to bend, so having my dog be able to pick things up for me would make life easier. I think it will be great for Arthur to get trained and we are looking forward to taking on the challenge!”
Clive and Jennifer, who are both originally from Cannock Chase, only got Arthur last month and he has already become a major part of the family.
She said: "We call him the little time waster because the time just passes watching him and his enthusiasm and inquisitiveness. He is an absolute delight. For a puppy he is pretty good already, we have only had him a week and he is already showing some good signs."
Jennifer said she hope Arthur would make a big difference to their lives – both on an emotional and practical level.
She said: "I think with dogs in general they enhance human lives without you even knowing it so for Clive, from an emotional point of view and a practical point of view, Arthur will hopefully be a life-long and loving companion."
She added: "Clive has only had pet dogs he has trained on his own before so this will be quite unique and quite nice."
Training for the dogs supported by Dog A.I.D. can take anything from six months up to two years, and is undertaken with dogs up to five years old.
Dog A.I.D. provides assistance dog training to people over fifteen years old with physical disabilities.
The organisation differs from most assistance dog charities because the dogs they work with are the clients' own pet dogs.
The charity will benefit from the Shropshire Virtual Show, allowing it to help more people train their dogs to help with day-to-day life.
The show will celebrate the best of the county through entertainment, activities, shopping experiences and competitions.
Proceeds will be shared between Dog A.I.D. and The Cavalier Centre, League of Friends to RJAH, The Movement Centre and Shropshire Rural Communities Charity.
There are a host of activities planned as the show has gone online, and animal lovers can show off their own four-legged friends by submitting entries to the dog show.
There is also an opportunity for green-fingered competitors to highlight their handiwork in the open gardens category and for performers of all ages to take centre stage in ‘Shropshire’s Got Talent’.
Budding artists can also to share their ‘lockdown creations’, while horse owners have a variety of classes to take part in as part of the virtual ‘horse arena’.
The deadline for submissions is Monday.
To register, and for more information, visit www.shropshirevirtualshow.com
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