A disabled woman has revealed how her super smart canine companion has saved her from a life of agony and despair.
Sue Holmes, 46, from Eaglesfield, near Cockermouth, suffers from an excruciating condition called Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.
The hereditary illness is so severe that it leaves her bedridden for long periods.
She uses either crutches or a wheelchair, and suffers from regular dislocations, torn muscles and painful spasms.
She wears body braces to support her joints.
There was even talk of putting her into a nursing home at the age of 44.
But a year ago, along came her unlikely saviour in the guise of a friendly retriever called Quizzy.
The former staff nurse’s four-legged friend can open doors, take the card and cash out of an ATM, and even takes clothes out of the washing machine.
Quizzy helps her to get dressed, picks things off the floor, and is now learning how to take things in and out of the fridge.
The super-smart dog will alert her if an alarm goes off and remind her when it is medication time.
Quizzy is even able to remove her owner’s braces, which was a role previously carried out by carers.
The clever canine can also help Sue to put a dislocated shoulder back in place.
Sue said: “What she can do is limited by your imagination.”
The dog was trained and paid for by Canine Partners, a charity which matches dogs to a person’s needs.
Sue said: “She has changed my life. She is my best friend. She’s my companion.
“I wasn’t in a very happy place because of the pain and the fact I was having to spend most of my time in bed.
“When I’m upset and in a lot of pain she will come and cuddle up to me.
“She knows when I’m not well and senses when I have more energy because she comes bounding over with a toy!”
Friend Sean Linford, 44, of Lamport Street, Workington, added: “She has brought her out of the shadows.”
Thanks to the support she receives from Quizzy and husband Mark, Sue now no longer needs any carers.
Six months ago she started Quizzy’s Quest which has so far raised £3,500 for the charity.
It costs about £20,000 to train a canine partner.
To find out more, visit www.caninepartners.org.uk