Rescue Dogs to Super Dogs - a great watch

By Lin Ferguson - TV Review

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Emily and Poppy
Emily and Poppy

It could have been that British talent idol show when a small dog reigned supreme and won the title...whoaaa we all said.

Well actually it wasn't quite the same.

But British reality show Rescue Dogs to Super Dogs, where virtually unhomeable dogs were trained to help the disabled, was mesmerising.

Two extraordinary trainers found the right two dogs after endless hours watching all the unwanted dogs at the Battersea Dogs Home.

Taking careful note of natural attributes like keen eyes and awareness, they discerned if they were of stoic character.

They were then matched.

One case was Londoner and former children's nurse Emily who was diagnosed last year with narcolepsy and cataplexy (a sudden loss of muscle control). It means she has trouble waking up, is constantly losing her medication and frequently collapses in public for minutes at a time.

She just crumples to the ground.

Poppy, a two-year-old brindle Boxer cross,was the chosen one who the trainers thought could become a great helper.

She was very bright dog and had been found starving and roaming the streets.
The intensive training meant Poppy had to be taught to jump onto Emily's bed and wake her up when the alarm sounded, to look for the medication bag, to lie down calmly next to Emily when she collapsed (about 30 times a day) - until she recovered consciousness.

Once trained Poppy was fitted with a coat printed with Working Dog in large black letters.
Watching this sweet dog weeks later in a busy London street when Emily collapses and Poppy drops down beside her laying a protective paw across Emily's arm until her "mum"recovers.

Meeting a gleaming black lab called Parker was also uplifting. He helped Alan who had Tourette's. Alan had become a recluse, was very lonely as his tics had become increasingly debilitating, especially in public. It was humiliating, Alan said.

Alan renamed the smart lab Duke and they were quickly inseparable and the love flowed.
Duke was constantly on tic alert and would place a soothing paw on his master when the tics hit.

This devotion helped Alan start to recover from particularly violent tic attacks.

Both dogs were also ever on red alert when the morning alarm rang. They leapt to attention, hauled the duvet off their owners then ran and retrieved the bags of medication from a shelf and placed it on the bed.

Four-legged superstars - an astonishing watch.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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