Dog's big day at Crufts

A North Devon assistance dog described as a lifesaver by his disabled owner is heading for the national stage at Crufts next month. Edward will join his owner Wendy Hillings of Yelland at the Canine Partners stand during the final day of the famous dog

A North Devon assistance dog described as a "lifesaver" by his disabled owner is heading for the national stage at Crufts next month.

Edward will join his owner Wendy Hillings of Yelland at the Canine Partners stand during the final day of the famous dog show at Earls Court in London on Sunday, March 14.

The two-year-old golden retriever has proved invaluable to Wendy, who suffers from the skin condition EB, which leaves her skin fragile and prone to blisters at the slightest accidental knock or contact.

Since receiving Teddy - as he is known - from the charity at nine weeks old, Wendy has trained him to carry out more than 100 different tasks, from taking washing out of the machine to handing over a bus pass and even taking money from a cash machine.


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Just as crucially he has been trained to detect the slightest change in her breathing and to raise the alarm, fetching help if he thinks anything is wrong.

As a Canine Partner, he is also thought to be the first dog in Devon to get paid "wages" thanks to direct payment via social services.

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Wendy and Teddy will be at Crufts to help raise awareness of the Canine Partners charity and what it can do, as well as the financial help and advice available to disabled people who might benefit from a dog. The charity marks its 20th anniversary this year.

She is in the process of writing a book about her life with Teddy, his training, the charity and with helpful notes and images of training sessions which should be of benefit to other dog owners.

Teddy is becoming something of a celebrity in and outside of North Devon - he now has his own Facebook page, under "Canine Partner Edward" and can even be seen giving a demonstration of his abilities on YouTube. Go to www.youtube.com/user/k9srules to see him in action!

Those unable to visit Teddy and Wendy at Crufts can also meet them and find out more about their work at Berrynarbor Manor Hall on Saturday, at 10.30am.

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