Sunday

Talented dog makes the bed, fetches the milk and even gets money out of cash machine for disabled owner

Owner hadn't been outside on her own for 18 months before she got Byron
Seven-year-old dog fetches everything from milk in the fridge to hot water bottle and knows more than 100 commands

As dog owners know, you are lucky if your pooch can be persuaded to collect your slippers without chewing them to pieces.

But golden labrador Byron performs dozens of such tasks faultlessly for his owner every day.

He helps 'best friend' Kate Cross peg out her washing, make her bed, go shopping and even take money out of the cash machine.

The trained hound is a life-line for Kate, who suffers from Ehlers Danlos syndrome. The rare condition means the retired teacher's joints are so weak that she can dislocate her shoulder from just opening a door.

But Byron is never far from her side - and has learned to do all the things Kate struggles to. The 49-year-old from Hinckley, Leicestershire, who received the star pet in 2007, said: 'I can’t imagine my life without Byron - he really is my best friend.

'He’s given me my life back - I can live independently and not have to rely on my husband or other people doing everything for me because Byron is always there.

'He never gets fed up with helping me - it’s all a big game to him, but I’d be lost without him.'


Byron was trained by Sussex-based charity Canine Partners - who have matched hundreds of assistance dogs to people who really need their help.

After months of intensive training with the charity’s volunteer Puppy Parents, the young dogs are carefully matched with new companions, before training continues in their new homes.

Byron helps Kate from the moment she gets up in the morning - with no task too big or small for the seven-year-old.


The faithful hound helps Kate into her wheelchair every morning, acting as a support for her as she steps out of bed into the chair.

As she makes a morning coffee, Byron will open the fridge door himself, before fetching Kate a carton of milk.


And the clever canine even retrieves his own breakfast bowl from the cupboard - before jumping up and placing his empty bowl in the washing up bowl.

He accompanies Kate to the supermarket - reaching down to low shelves to pick up any item Kate has on her shopping list.

And to the envy of dog owners everywhere, Byron can even open the door to let himself out to the toilet.

Kate added: 'Byron knows more than 100 different commands, and can do just about anything I ask him too.


'In the supermarket, I stop my chair near to the item I want, and he follows my eyeline and takes the item off the shelf.

'It’s such a help to me, as small things like bending down and grasping things are really difficult for me.

'Byron even unloads my shopping onto the conveyor belt at the till and hands my purse over to the checkout assistants.


'He can do such amazing things - he takes my bank card and reaches up to put it into a cash machine, and takes the cash when it comes out, and passes it to me - all I have to do is put in my pin number.

'He can reach out and press pedestrian crossing buttons with his nose, and picks up anything I drop on the ground. Before we go to bed on cold nights, he even fetches my hot water bottle, and when I’ve filled it, he trots upstairs with it, and puts it on my side of the bed, under the covers.

'My condition means my circulation is very weak, so a nice warm bed is just what I need.'


Kate has suffered with Ehlers Danlos syndrome - an illness which makes her bones and skin progressively weaker - since she was a child.

Her condition dashed her hopes of becoming a professional musician - and eventually, she was dislocating joints several times a day, and took to using a wheelchair.

After being forced to take early retirement from her job as a primary school teacher, she grew so anxious about going outside that she was virtually housebound - after she was targeted by yobs after venturing outside in her wheelchair.


Kate said: 'When I first got Byron, I hadn’t left the house by myself for almost 18 months. I felt useless, and I hated going outside - people stared and didn’t know how to speak to me.

'Once, I was in my wheelchair going through the park, when a gang of teenage boys playing football decided to use my chair for target practice. I was so upset, I couldn’t imagine going out again. I became afraid of the world.

'I had always loved dogs, and on a rare trip out to Crufts, my husband Stuart and I came across a stand for Canine Partners - a charity that provides assistance dogs to people who need help.


'They told me I was exactly the kind of person they could help - and within a few months, I had been paired up with Byron.

'We instantly clicked, and went through an intensive training camp together to teach him all the things he’d need to be able to do. I just couldn’t imagine my life without him now.

'If I have a fall, Byron is trained to fetch the phone, and a pillow and blanket, so I can get help.

'It’s given my husband peace of mind too, as he knows I’m never alone.

'It’s important to let him have time to just be a dog though too - and he loves nothing more than running around in the park getting covered in mud.'


As well as helping hundreds of people affected by debilitating conditions, Canine Partners has also started to work with military charity Help for Heroes - to provide dogs for ex-soldiers who have been injured in service.

A spokesperson for the charity said: 'We are thrilled with how successful the partnership between Kate and Byron is - their relationship exemplifies exactly what our work is all about.


'More than 1.2 million people in the UK use a wheelchair, and a significant number of those would benefit from a canine partner. We tailor train our dogs to each applicant’s individual needs, and try to help as many people as we can.

'These life transforming dogs also provide practical, psychological and social benefits including increased independence and confidence as well as increased motivation and self-esteem. A canine partner also brings companionship, a sense of security and increases social interaction.'
SOURCE

VIDEO: Meet Byron the 'super dog'

Responses to "How an Incredible Dog Changes the Life of a Woman (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Too bad the video is unavailable, but the pics are awesome. What a wonderful friend Byron is.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I know how wonderful it can be to have an Assistance Dog and I don't have anywhere near your condition. Good on you and Byron and Canine Partners.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have an assistance dog, the most shocking trick he can do is get my car started

  4. What a wonderful and smart dog! Dogs Rule!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The two of you are so very special. May God bless and keep you both safe in His love.

  6. Little Feather says:

    This is fantastic! What a help Byron is to you...just from reading these statements. I know your husband loves you, but at least, if he has to be gone at work, he knows you are taken care of by, Byron. Thank you, Byron, for helping this woman and knowing exactly what to do. Am sure you have instruction...but what a WONDERFUL doggie-dog you are!

  7. Medstarinc says:

    A truely inspiring story. The two of you make for a very special team. Best wishes to you!

  8. Angela Mackay says:

    What a truly wonderful story, my heart is so full of joy and happiness knowing that Kate has such a fantastic helper, friend in Byron. You both are an inspiration to the rest of the world <3

  9. this is why I love dogs

  10. Anonymous says:

    Touching story, and what a wonderful dog! A great big thank you to all the people who work with these dogs. Kate & Byron, I think you were ment to be together. So happy for you both!

  11. This dog is AMAZING! I knew labs were smart, but he is super smart. And you can see the love in his eyes for his master. Beautiful.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A very meaningful life he has. All dogs have great potential. But we have to respect them and not use them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    what a wonderful story Gos bless that dog and woman very smart. How people can be so cruel to animals,they are such a blessing to use the Bible says we're to take care of them

  14. Anonymous says:

    He's clearly in it for the inheritance

  15. Anonymous says:

    how beautiful - this really brightened my Monday :)

  16. Anonymous says:

    May I say what a beautiful dog you have, also love what he can do. I have a Labrador and I have trained her a bit, but I would love to take her in shops. I have Charcot foot and my skin is very sensitive so I cant do a lot I have been bed ridden for the past 8 months and its so hard to do things. it so nice to hear you have your life back but so so sorry to hear what happened to you too. I hope you have a good life from now on which I think you will with your beautiful Byron. good luck for the future.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You're a Phenomena. A true Hero. Can I borrow you?

  18. Anonymous says:

    What A Amazing Dog !!!! Hes One In A Million For Sure So Glad You Got him wish a lot of people would benefit from having a dog like this !!! Your Truly Blessed with Byron Hes AMAZING !!!!<3

  19. Anonymous says:

    That's pretty awesome! Wish I could teach my cat to do that lol!

  20. Anonymous says:

    He is an incredible loving and caring dog. I am glad you have him.

  21. Ruth says:

    A dog in a million :)

  22. Anonymous says:

    What an incredible dog.What a wonderful job he does to help.

  23. Anonymous says:

    dogs are man's and women's best friends. God Bless you both and keep you in good health.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This Dog is so incredible, & should be honored.

  25. Anonymous says:

    wonderful, so inspiring.

  26. Anonymous says:

    WOW THAT IS SO COOL ! YOU HAVE A VERY WONDERFUL FRIEND !! YOU TWO TAKE CARE !!

  27. B Filip says:

    What a wonderful dog Byron is. You can see the love you both have for each other.I am so glad he helps you like he does.I hope you two have a great life together. May God bless you all.

  28. B Filip says:

    He is truly a inspiration !! May there be more dogs like him !!

  29. Dog Names says:

    Dogs are our best companions, whatever you are rich or not.

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