Paw-some Rory has met his match

FROM loading the washing machine, to opening doors, support dog-in-training Rory is learning fast.

The two-year-old black Labrador has been training as a disability assistance dog with Sheffield-based charity Support Dogs since the start of the year.

The client he has recently been matched with is a wheelchair-user who doesn’t let severe, degenerative arthritis get in the way of her being an athletics official.

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Lucky Rory will live just 500m from the beach, which is perfect as he loves the water.

After a period of six months to a year of living and working together, it’s hoped that Rory and his human will graduate as a successful partnership – making Rory the client’s fourth assistance dog.

Before moving in with the client, Rory passed all his assessments.

Support Dogs trainer Joe Dickinson said: “He can open and close doors, will put the footplates down on a wheelchair, pick up and fetch items, fetch help and load and unload the washing machine.

“I’ve seen him mature a lot in the past few months.”

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Joe added: “He’s a very fast learner and has picked up all of his tasks really quickly. As the client attends athletics events, Rory has been to football matches at Chesterfield and he coped really well with that.

“He got quite a lot of attention when we were in shops, which he enjoys, and is a real people person.”

Rory had lived with volunteer doggy foster carers on evenings and weekends during his time training at Support Dogs’ centre, in Brightside.

“He went on a lot of walks with his foster carers, who live in Rotherham and have a son,” said Joe.

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“He loves swimming and he’s partial to bits of fruit and veg.”

Support Dogs, which was established 32 years ago, trains and provides assistance dogs to help autistic children, as well as adults with epilepsy or a physical disability, to live more safely and independently.

To find out more about the work of Support Dogs, please visit or call 0114 2617800.