Meet E.T., (short for Endal III), a talented young labrador retriever and third in a line of exceptional assistance dogs. Handler and owner Allen Parton is a disabled ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer, who founded the military assistance dog charity, Hounds for Heroes, in 2010.
Allen returned from the Gulf War in 1991 with a serious head injury to spend five years in hospital, following which he needed specialist day care. He tells Kate Fairweather about how Endal became his first, “accidental” assistance dog. In the early days, Allen was unable to communicate verbally and used signing alone to communicate with his dog. In the circumstances, it's quite moving to hear Allen describing his recovery - he's come a long way with the help of his hounds.
Endal was succeeded by E.J. (Endal Junior), whose death in Spring 2022 left E.T. (Endal III) in the hot seat! Together with Rookie, an experienced assessment dog, E.J. is already supporting Allen day to day. Allen explains how the assistance dogs in his life have given him purpose, transformed his health and helped his relationships. He also describes how the charity he founded helps other disabled servicemen and women.
Do you work your dog or dogs, or know someone who does? You can get in touch with Kate at Dogs with Jobs at email@example.com or find Dogs with Jobs on Facebook or Instagram.
© & ℗ Kate Fairweather 2022