We all know the routine:
Write out a shopping list for your weekly trip to the supermarket.
Peruse the aisles looking for that particular condiment, specific brand of coffee or the discounted bargain corner that you can never seem to find.
Come home having bought half the shop (plus a little extra) and begin a game of Tetris trying to fit everything into the cupboards.
Relax with a new pack of biscuits and your favourite hot drink, feeling productive but a little tired.
For many people this weekly activity is the same and one that, pre-pandemic, we took for granted. Post-lockdown, it seems many of us now look forward to these trips, an appreciation developed from a taste of normality and the chance to stretch our legs beyond the walls of our homes.
However, this ‘normal’ or ‘everyday’ part of life is only one experienced by those physically able. For people with disabilities that limit their independence, the luxury of browsing the shelves or popping to the shops if they run out of milk isn’t one that can be experienced easily.
In fact, many are reliant on additional support to help them navigate through these ‘every day’ parts of life, and this help can come in many different forms – young or old, big or small, human or…furry.
Canine Partners is a national charity that provides assistance dogs to meet the needs of people living with complex disabilities. These specially-trained pups are carefully matched to an individual’s lifestyle no matter how challenging, and can help carry out a variety of tasks from opening and closing doors, to unloading the washing machine, to stripping the bed, to – you guessed it – helping with the shopping.
One service user’s limited mobility has meant she’s always relied on the Tesco delivery driver to carry her shopping into the kitchen. However, when the pandemic hit and social distancing measures came into force, the driver was no longer able to provide this extra step of support. In response, her assistance dog learnt to get a washing basket, place the shopping items in and drag it into the kitchen where its owner could then unpack. Simple tasks, made complex through disabilities, creatively solved by a four legged-friend.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has just announced £30,000 in funding for Canine Partners which will support the charity in providing assessments, training and after care for all its beneficiaries. This grant will ensure that the daily needs of service users are met – from unloading the dishwasher to carrying in a Tesco delivery – because every little helps.