Posted on June 23, 2016: We have often heard about how guide dogs or assistance dogs help the blind or give company to the elderly in their day to day routine. However, these “guide dogs” take years to be perfectly trained through official programs and training.
A pet programme with a twist
A new show in the UK Rescue dog to Super dog follows a series of abandoned dogs as they learn new tricks and go an extra mile ahead as they become guide dogs for those in need. The three-part series aims demonstrates that it is not just special breeds that can get trained to become guide dogs. The show picks its subjects from animal rescue centers and trains them on the job.
It is fascinating to watch as trainer Jo-Rosie Haffenden, trains the abandoned and ‘non-homeable’ dogs into real life heroes for people in need of one.
In one of the episodes, three seemingly untrainable and unruly dogs and matched with three people with varying levels of ability. Poppy- one of the dogs, for instance, hadn't been house-trained. She wouldn’t sit when ordered to and couldn't be trusted to be left alone in the house. Same was Indie, who had previously been mistreated. She did not like being held, especially from around the mouth and neck area, which lead the staff to wonder if her mouth had been forcibly held or taped shut, and scars on her face proved to be that from a previous trauma. Daisy, another stray, was restless as she had been given up by her owners who couldn't cope with her.
Three people were selected to be the human companions for these rescued dogs. All the dogs were welcomed into their new parents’ home followed by their first week of basic training and later few intensive training weeks by Jo-Rosie Haffenden.
The new dog owners on the show also have special needs. Emily, 28, was a former nurse from London, and she suffers from a condition called cataplexy which causes sudden muscle weakness. This causes her to suddenly collapse up to 20 times a day.
Paula Moulton, 44, from Manchester, is a wheelchair-user and has always prided herself on her independence, even though her health steadily deteriorating since she caught the MRSA bug. Although she is active and has been in the UK wheelchair dance champion, she has lately realised that she needs more help. Lastly, there is Dom, who is 12 and suffers from muscular dystrophy and has been advised to use his wheelchair full time. This has made his parents worried about his independence.
As the new pet parents spend time with their new pets, their lives and problems have become simpler if not completely trouble free.
Poppy lies down with Emily each time she has an attack, thinking she is playing dead with her. When Emily springs back up after an attack she has Poppy’s company which has made her more confident of stepping out. Paula says that Indie has made a huge difference in her life. “One of the most rewarding things is seeing how much the rescue dogs have thrived too,” Jo-Rosie told the Daily Mail, “They weren't wanted or needed before. Now they are and you can see the pride in their faces.”
Follow Channel 4 on Youtube to keep up with super dogs.