Retford Ladies Probus Club

by | 5 June 2024 | Probus, Retford, Social Group

President Angie Haynes welcomed Ken Heathcote and his beautiful black Labrador Piper to the May meeting of Retford Ladies Probus Club.

Piper really didn’t need any introduction. He had already worked the room, becoming acquainted with all the ladies present. Ken talked about his diagnosis with Kleine Levin Syndrome and then a tragic accident causing him to be paralysed from his upper chest downwards. He can feel his upper arms but has no finger movement.

Enter Piper, aged nine years, who is Ken’s second dog (his first dog Petra lived to be 12). This wonderful animal can pick up small objects, take off socks, gloves, hats, coats, push doors and open drawers with pull cords. When Ken says “speak” the dog will woof but is trained to use a bark only in an emergency. Who wouldn’t want a dog like that? Unfortunately, they are in short supply and this is where Dogs For Good comes in.

The charity can only supply about 60 dogs a year so they are oversubscribed. Piper goes out for long walks with Ken and is a real ice breaker when meeting people. After all this he’s also allowed some playtime too! Piper also helps Ken with his gardening.

The charity runs a workshop for people to come and train their own pets to help them. Dogs can be very good in the early stages of dementia and can be trained to fetch zipped up medicine bags. However, these dogs don’t get the special jacket which enables them to go everywhere.

The ladies were inspired by Ken.

The Club’s next meeting is on Tuesday 12th June at 10.00am for 10.30am, at Westhill Community Centre, when David Allott will talk about Wentworth Woodhouse. All are welcome.