LITTLE Lottie Wilcocks’ special pet pooch has given her a new lease of life.
The ten-year-old, who is wheelchair-bound with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, has been given a specially-trained dog by the charity Dogs for the Disabled.
Black labrador Velvet, who will be two in July, has transformed Lottie’s life and made her daily tasks much easier, according to Lottie’s mum Tracey, 41.
She said: “Lottie seems to smile a lot more than she did. Velvet is completely part of the family. She’s a Wilcocks.”
Velvet now helps Lottie, a pupil at Rippondon Junior and Infant School, to get dressed and picks things up for her if she drops something.
She also keeps her company in the park, where her brother Noel, four, plays, and goes to shops and restaurants with the family.
The family applied to the charity for a dog two years ago and at the beginning of this year, their wish was granted.
Mrs Wilcocks, 41, of Elland Road, Ripponden, went on a week’s residential course at Nostell and the charity then came out twice a week for about six weeks to train the family.
Now the charity works with the family on specific tasks.
Mrs Wilcocks said: “Lottie can’t stand at all. She can’t bear any weight.
“So if she dropped something she would get quite cross because she couldn’t reach to pick it up.
“Now Velvet does that for her.
“We’re also teaching Velvet to speak. So if she falls out of her chair, Lottie knows the command to speak and Velvet will bark to get someone’s attention.”
Family members are now fund-raising under the name of Team Velvet, to thank Dogs for the Disabled.
They will be bag-packing today at Tesco in Sowerby Bridge and are planning to do the Great North Run in September and the Loch Ness Marathon in October.
To find out more on the team’s fund-raising challenges, or to donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/teamvelvet.
Dogs for the Disabled trains assistance dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities and families with a child with autism.
For more information on Dogs for the Disabled contact 01295 252600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.