Blue is happy to lead a dog’s life for owner
email@example.com An amazing dog which can open doors and perform household tasks like emptying the washing machine has given a disabled former soldier a new lease of life.
Two-year-old labrador Blue takes the post to owner John Newcombe, picks up a TV remote control and even helps him dress and undress each day.
Mr Newcombe, 50, of Mabledown Avenue, Ashford, was given the special assistance dog by charity Support Dogs after multiple-sclerosis (MS) left him wheelchair bound.
“He is perfect for helping me with everyday tasks,” said the father-of-three.
“He’s handy at passing me his feeding bowl too.
“When I get up, he will pass me my clothes which a carer helps me put on and when I go to bed he helps me undress. He helps take my shirt and trousers off, pulls my socks off, he does the lot really.”
“When the postman comes he collects the post. He used to get a treat for bringing me the post in one bundle, but he’s worked out that if he brought it to me in lots of bits he would get more treats.”
Before being diagnosed MS eight years ago, Mr Newcombe served as a sergeant in the Devon and Dorset Infantry Regiment in Northern Ireland and is currently going through a medical discharge from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment of the Territorial Army.
As his partner Claire Corner, 34, works full-time as a teacher in Sittingbourne, he found he needed more help around the house during the day.
Mr Newcombe initially tried to get his seven-year-old golden labrador Teddy
‘He used to get a treat for bringing me the post in one bundle, but he’s worked out that if he brought it to me in lots of bits he would get more treats’
trained as a support dog but he had arthritis in his elbow so the charity gave him Blue.
As a puppy he was put through six months of training and then Mr Newcombe received training to learn commands that Support Dogs will respond to.
“I take him everywhere I go,” he said. “One of the big differences he has made is in the way other people respond to me. In the past they would often ignore me or even get in my way – many people don’t know how to respond to somebody in a wheelchair. Now they talk about Blue.”
For more information about Support Dogs or to make a donation go to www. support-dogs.org.uk or call 0114 2617800.
To see a video of Blue in action, visit www.kentonline.co.uk
Support dog Blue delivers the mail to owner John Newcombe
Mr Newcombe’s other dog Teddy