Dogs give owners gift of mobility

Dogs give owners gift of mobility

Mobility dogs can make an incredible difference to the lives of their owners who live in wheelchairs, and there's now a fundraising push underway to get more dogs mobilised.

Life for Mike Wheeler and his dog, Friend, is an absolute ball. Fourteen-year-old Mike lives with spinal muscular atrophy – a condition that affects his muscle movement.

Before Friend bounded into Mike's life four years ago, everyday tasks like opening doors were tough. Now Friend can help Mike get the TV remote, or a quick drink.

Friend passed his exams at the Mobility Assistance Dog's Trust – one of 10 to 15 dogs they train every year.

Dogs are matched with owners based on their personality. But training dogs like Friend isn't cheap – about $50,000 per dog for a two-year course. The owners then pay $4000 to receive their companion.

Demand for the dogs is massive so fundraising is vital, and that's why pet store chain Animates got on board. Donations for mobility dog training through its stores have reached the $80,000 mark, which is brilliant for people like Mike.

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