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In our latest article we are taking a look at one of our special customers Gillian and her Assistance Dog, Rhoda and how raw feeding keeps Rhoda fit, healthy and full of vitality, which in turns helps Rhoda concentrate on doing her job to the best of her ability.
Gillian has suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis throughout her life, making everyday activities difficult and more importantly, painful. It causes severe joint pain and limits her range of movement. It also causes high levels of fatigue following movement or exercise.
Gillian also unfortunately experienced a cardiac arrest a few years ago, which has further hampered her health but luckily not her resolve or her love for life!
Gillian was lucky enough to be the recipient of an amazing assistance dog in the form of Rhoda, a three and a half year old black Standard Poodle. Rhoda has been with Gillian as her assisting dog for two and a half years now and really has become an extension of Gillian, doing many of her everyday activities for her and making life possible again.
Rhoda was gifted to Gillian by Carole Cluett, secretary of the Friends of Wessex Assisting Dogs Charity. They are a voluntary organisation committed to raising awareness and funds for the placement of assistance dogs with partners in the Wessex region.
Carole raised Rhoda from a pup and started her training early in life. Rhoda then went to Gillian as a one year old but having already learnt many of the skills she would need in order to provide the best assistance to Gillian.
Rhoda is quite simply put… amazing. She helps Gillian at getting dressed and undressed, she picks up things that have been dropped or are on the floor. Her favourites are napkins or tissues and also get the towel when Gillian is getting out of the shower. Rhoda can open doors for Gillian and even helps by getting washing out of the washing machine. The list of ways in which Rhoda helps is endless however; one of the biggest aids Rhoda provides is companionship. Rhoda is always by Gillian’s side. Even at night Rhoda sleeps as close to the bed as she can, and when she feels she is not quite close enough, Rhoda will drag her bed even closer to Gillian before settling down for the night.
Rhoda has even surprised the odd waiter (or two) by picking up dropped napkins as the waiter ferries the empty plates back to the restaurant kitchens when Gillian and her husband are out having dinner!
Rhoda gets reminder lessons every now and then to ensure she doesn’t forget key skills and abilities. She will soon be starting her Dog A.I.D (Assitance In Disability) training and certification where she will be assessed through three stages. Rhoda will apparently fly through the first two for she is already performing the majority of tasks within those stages. Gillian is confident that Rhoda will also pass stage three without issue for she truly is a miraculous assisting dog.
Gillian was keen to impress upon us that Rhoda does have her moments of madness like all dogs do. Gillian and her family have a few nicknames for her, the key one being The Clown as Rhoda is constantly keeping them laughing with her amusing but adorable and usually silly behaviours. The second nickname they often refer to is the Black Devil, for when she is having one of her more mischievous moments!
Rhoda is great with children whenever she meets them and loves the attention that is lavished upon her. Living on the edge of Dartmoor, Rhoda also loves to get out for long walks when Gillian climbs onto her all-terrain wheelchair buggy and she and her husband go out exploring the beautiful countryside around them.
Rhoda has also been able to help Gillian’s other Poodle called Cotton. Cotton came to them as a rescue dog and had quite high levels of anxiety. Rhoda’s confidence and understanding has helped Cotton come out of her shell and become an altogether happier soul.
Rhoda has been brought up on Nurturing by Nature’s raw dog food since a very young pup. Gillian is confident that the quality of the ingredients used in our minces is key to keeping Rhoda healthy, active and free from dietary or health based issues.
Gillian often explores new proteins for Rhoda and feels happy to get in touch with us and have a chat when she has questions about any changes to Rhoda’s diet.
We love the relationship that Gillian and Rhoda have, and we are proud to be a part of their journey together. We will continue to stay in touch with the pair and do our very best to support them both in any way we can.
Nurturing by Nature has also agreed to support Friends of Wessex Assisting Dogs throughout the coming year and on into the future as part of an ongoing partnership together. We know that the work they do is vital to so many, and the partnerships like Gillian and Rhoda’s is life changing in so many ways.
Thank you Gillian for allowing us to share your story and we wish you and Rhoda all the best for the future as you both enjoy many adventures together.
If you have a story to share that you feel would be of interest to our audience then we would love to hear from you.