Mo­bil­ity dog in happy place

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By OLIVIA SHIVAS

THE gen­eros­ity of a 96-yearold woman is help­ing get more mo­bil­ity dogs into the dis­abled com­mu­nity.

Olive Stod­dard has been spon­sor­ing the dogs for three years.

Her fifth has now be­come the first dog in the Pup­pies with People pro­gramme – a plan to im­pact larger groups of people in­stead of in­di­vid­u­als.

It is an ini­tia­tive of the Mo­bil­ity As­sis­tance Dogs Trust, which trains the an­i­mals to work with people who have phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.

The two-year-old labrador, named Olive af­ter her donor, is a ther­apy dog at El­iz­a­beth Knox Home & Hospi­tal – the same place Mrs Stod­dard worked as a nurse more than 30 years ago.

Olive has been at the care home for six months af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Pup­pies in Prison pro­gramme.

Mrs Stod­dard mon­i­tors the progress of all the dogs she helps fund and even goes into jails to meet the pris­on­ers who train them.

She says go­ing to the prison is ‘‘just like nor­mal, like you are go­ing into the gym’’.

There are 25 mo­bil­ity dogs in train­ing at the women’s cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity in Wiri and the men’s prison in Springhill.

Mo­bil­ity As­sis­tance Dogs Trust gen­eral man­ager Jody Wil­son says the pro­gramme is suc­cess­ful.

‘‘A lot of these people who are in prison are there for a whole va­ri­ety of rea­sons ... and I think these dogs can give them an op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed at some­thing, to feel val­ued.’’

El­iz­a­beth Knox Home & Hospi­tal vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Kris­ten O’Reilly ap­pre­ci­ates the dif­fer­ence Olive makes in the lives of res­i­dents and pa­tients.

‘‘There are a lot who might have a hard time mak­ing friends be­cause their vi­sion or hear­ing is im­paired.

‘‘But Olive will just cud­dle up to any­one.

‘‘She ended up get­ting put in a rest home where such a so­cial dog should be,’’ she says.

Mrs Stod­dard en­joys the re­la­tion­ships with the mo­bil­ity dogs and see­ing the dif­fer­ence they make.

She now has a sixth spon­sored dog in train­ing and shows no sign of stop­ping her gen­er­ous do­na­tions.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing you ra­di­ates,’’ she says.

It costs $50,000 for each place­ment of a mo­bil­ity dog.

do

Photo: OLIVIA SHIVAS

Good cause: Olive Stod­dard, Jody Wil­son, Kris­ten O’Reilly and Olive the Mo­bil­ity Dog at El­iz­a­beth Knox in Ep­som.

In train­ing: Olive Stod­dard speaks to a pris­oner re­spon­si­ble for train­ing Olive the labrador, in 2012.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.