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Guide dog gives owner new life -for second time.

A GUIDE dog has been re-trained so he can continue working with his blind owner who has developed a spinal condition.

Jenny Hall,of Abergele,feared guide dog Theo would have to go after the condition severely restricted her ability to walk,or even bend down.

But recognising the close bond between dog and owner The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association decided Theo should be re-trained tome et Jennie's changing needs.

Instead of acting only as a guide dog, they decided he could be re- trained as an assistance dog.

Among other things,Theo has now been taught to pick up Jenny's mail.

Sheffield-basedSupport Dogs which specialises in the re- training of dogs offered some expert advice.

The organisation trains seizure alert dogs for people with epilepsy,and medical and disability assistance dogs, which can open and shut doors,operate light switches and fetch the post or remote control.

Guide Dogs for the Blind spokesman Andy Jones said: ``This is a great example of two charities working in partnership to train a very special dog.

``Theo remains with his owner,and in a new role,acting as Jennie's assistant for a variety of everyday tasks.

``Working in partnership also means that staff from both organisations learn new techniques which will help us to successfully train dual- purpose dogs in the future.''

Jennie said: ``All my guide dogs have made a huge difference to my life but since I damaged my back,Theo has provided a new independence for the second time.''

CAPTION(S):

Val Strong of the charity Support Dogs teaches Theohis new duties as an ``assistance dog''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 19, 2004
Words:269
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