Labrador gives cerebral palsy sufferer new lease of life
A four-legged friend is giving a young woman who suffers from cerebral palsy a helping hand in her bid for increased independence.
Alex Rigby, aged 21, is set to receive a dog to help her when she moves to a bungalow specifically adapted to her needs in the next few weeks.
Alex has lived at supported housing service Queensbury Place for the past three years, and with the help of charity Canine Partners, will be assigned a dog suited to her requirements.
The charity trains dogs to assist people with disabilities to enjoy greater independence and a better quality of life.
Bosses at Queensbury Place suggested working with an assistance dog to help Alex with the transition and provide extra support in her new home.
The dogs are able to help Alex, who has been in a wheelchair since the age of three, with basic tasks such as unloading washing machines, picking up objects and pressing buttons and switches.
She said: “The dog will help me to do all the jobs that I might have trouble with, like picking up stuff on the floor, and it is amazing how clever they are.”
Alex arrived at Queensbury Place in Maxwell Street, which is run by Irwell Valley Housing, after her mother had to have knee surgery.
She moved to a respite home for six months and was then referred to Queensbury Place, and has never looked back.
During her time at the supported housing service for adults with a physical or sensory disability, Alex has become much more self sufficient. She added: “I have realised how much I can be independent, and I can do things the way I want it rather than other people telling me what to do.”
Alex, who celebrates her 22nd birthday on Tuesday, has now enrolled at Bury Adult Learning Centre and studies Maths, English and IT, and is able to manage her finances as well as letters and bills.She has not yet been assigned her labra-dor, but is set to move into her new adapted flat in the coming weeks, and will be given her pooch when her move has been completed.
Alex will still receive regular visits from carers to help her with the transition, but the dog will help to provide round-the-clock support.
Giles Parlett, Irwell Valley’s supported services manager, said Alex’s transformation had been remarkable.
He said: “When she heard she was getting her bungalow she went out for a slap-up meal with one of her friends.”
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