A ‘SUPER dog’ has been trained to call a lifeline service when its owner falls ill.
Barclay presses a button connecting to Chichester District Council’s Careline service when owner Tricia O’Brien collapes.
“Because I fall a lot, Barclay has tuned into me and he knows when I start to feel unwell or unsteady,” said Tricia.
“Now he has been trained to press the alarm button that connects to Chichester Careline, it has given me even more reassurance that I always have access to help when I need it.”
Tricia, from Chichester, has multiple sclerosis, a neurological condition, affecting around 100,000 people in the UK.
She was given Barclay by Canine Partners, a charity based near Midhurst, to help out with tasks which would otherwise be difficult, painful or impossible to perform.
Not only does Barclay empty the washing machine, help with the shopping and take Tricia’s shoes, coat and gloves off – the clever canine can also contact Chichester Careline if Tricia cannot raise the alarm herself.
A panic button was installed at a height Barclay could reach after Tricia collapsed and experienced periods of blindness.
Following its installation, Canine Partners trained Barclay to press the alarm when Tricia feels unwell.
“I once woke up blind and tried to find my mobile and was pressing any number for help,” said the 52-year-old.
“Thankfully, I got through to my friend, but it made me realise I needed further support.
“I found out about Chichester Careline through Chichester District Council’s magazine Initiatives.
“The service is fantastic. My mother and father passed away a long time ago, but I wish they’d had the opportunity to access a service like this. It would have made such a difference.”
She added: “Barclay is the best present I have ever been given, and I would not be without him,”
“Barclay is truly a super dog,” said Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for wellbeing and community services at Chichester District Council.
“Our staff at Chichester Careline already consider him their mascot and are always ready to listen out for his bark. Combining the support Tricia receives from Barclay with our Chichester Careline service means Tricia and her family can feel reassured she always has the support she needs.
“We would also like to recognise the amazing work that Canine Partners do – not only within our area where they are based, but also across the country.”