Paralysed Sheffield nurse backs support dog appeal

23 Nov 2015....Bobbie Hubbard-Marks and her Support Dog Poppy for this year's Yorkshire Post Christmas Appeal. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1010/25a
23 Nov 2015....Bobbie Hubbard-Marks and her Support Dog Poppy for this year's Yorkshire Post Christmas Appeal. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1010/25a
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A paralysed former nurse from Sheffield is urging people to back a fundraising campaign to pay for the £20,000 needed to train a support dog.

Bobbie Hubbard-Marks, aged 61, from Chapeltown, was left paralysed from the waist down after falling while on holiday in Bulgaria five years ago.

The nurse had just retired and had bought a small farm but her fall meant months in hospital and numerous operations before she was allowed home.

Her recovery has been assisted by her disability assistance dog, Poppy, who was trained by Sheffield-based charity Support Dogs.

It costs up to £20,000 to train a support dog.

Each door in Bobbie’s home has a piece of string with a pompom on the end so that Poppy can open it. She closes doors with her nose.

She is trained to pick items up, including telephones and money and can help Bobbie dress and undress.

Bobbie said Poppy has given her partner, Jenny, the confidence to leave her at home alone.

“Before, Jenny felt she couldn’t leave me in case I fell or something happened, but now, because Poppy is with me, she knows I’ll be fine, as Poppy can get help if I need it,” said Bobbie.

“They have taken a little dog and turned her into a miracle walking beside me, and for that I am very grateful. She is such a character and always makes me laugh. The first thing she does in the morning is come into the bedroom to pass me my slippers.

“I class myself as incredibly lucky to have her - and Support Dogs.”

To donate visit www.supportdogs.org.uk/donate or Text DOGY15 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.