Meet Blade the cutting-edge Sheffield United support dog

Blade the beautiful yellow Labrador pup will soon become a life-changing assistance dog, trained by Sheffield-based charity, Support Dogs.
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Blade was named by Sheffield United, who made Support Dogs one of its charity partners over the past couple of seasons.

And the pooch, pictured with former Sheffield United legend Phil Jagielka, has proved to be in a league of his own as he has progressed through a tough training regime.

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Blade will be turning two in June and is now at the final stages of his training programme. Having gone through puppy training, and more general assistance dog task work training, he was initially selected to progress as an autism assistance dog, to help a child with autism navigate the world safely.

Blade the support dog at Bramall Lane. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/SportimageBlade the support dog at Bramall Lane. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Blade the support dog at Bramall Lane. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

However, as he progressed through this training it was found that his energy levels and his enjoyment of being busy and doing lots of tasks, made him an even better candidate for the charity’s disability programme.He has made this change of position his own, and in January he was matched and placed to begin living and working with the family he is now supporting. His client is someone who has various long-term medical conditions including spinal stenosis, which means her physical mobility is extremely restricted.

Blade has been trained to provide 24/7 care and assistance, enabling her to lead a much safer, more active and independent life. Blade can pick up dropped objects, fetch medication, the ‘phone and other items by name. He can help with stability, raise the alarm, find help in emergencies and assist with dressing and undressing. He can even load and unload the washing machine.

Blade will fully qualify in September, with his graduation ceremony due to take place in November.

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Support Dogs, whose national training centre is in Brightside, trains assistance dogs for children with autism, adults with epilepsy, and serious medical conditions and physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, MS, spinal injuries and arthritis, enabling them to lead safer, more independent lives.

It receives no government funding and relies entirely on public donations to support its life-transforming work.