A dog can be many things - a companion, a walking partner, a cute bundle of fur - but not many people realise what a huge source of help they are to disabled people.
Dogs For The Disabled is a charity based in Banbury that trains dogs from when they are puppies so they can help children and adults who live with learning and physical disabilities.
Cathy Stone, who has been a fundraiser for Dogs For The Disabled for the past few years, is now appealing for people to come forward to help her set up a fundraising branch for Bedfordshire.
Cathy, who lives in Kempston, has completed a charity trek in Nepal and this month will be holding a Christmas Walk to raise funds for the charity. And next year she is planning to walk the Great Wall of China.
The former Beds Police Detective Inspector: “This charity really changes people’s lives, I’ve always been a dog lover and I just heard about Dogs For The Disabled and thought what an amazing cause.
“The whole idea I am trying to do is involving anybody who is wiling to set up a support group in Bedfordshire. There are five partnerships in Bedfordshire and we want to set up a group so that they, or anyone else, can get involved with fundraising.”
People wanting a dog to support and help them can often have to wait for years until they are matched with one.
The charity has a number of puppy socialisers, who take in the puppies when they are first born and train them in basic obedience skills and how to socialise with other people and animals. The five-mile Christmas walk is taking place on Saturday, December 8 at 11am, which starts and finishes at the King William IV pub in High Street, Kempston.