Jake is helped by Nudge
A TEENAGER from Comet country has become one of only four young people this year to receive a special assistance dog. Jake Gear, 15, from Harkness Way in Hitchin, is now the proud owner of Nudge, a 23-month-old Labrador retriever cross. Jake, who attends
A TEENAGER from Comet country has become one of only four young people this year to receive a special assistance dog.
Jake Gear, 15, from Harkness Way in Hitchin, is now the proud owner of Nudge, a 23-month-old Labrador retriever cross.
Jake, who attends Lonsdale School in Stevenage, is wheelchair-bound and has been given Nudge by Dogs for the Disabled.
She will help with tasks such as taking off his socks, fetching his shoes and bringing him the remote control.
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If needed, she can also open doors, bark when people come to the door and press the button on pelican crossings.
Young people have only started receiving assistance dogs in the last couple of years, under a scheme called Pals with Paws, and only a few are matched each year.
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Nudge's training has taken around 19 months and both Jake and his mum Susan, 50, were involved in the process.
Nudge has just become a fully qualified assistance dog and can now sport the yellow jacket.
She has now been with the family for five weeks and has already settled in well, sleeping in Jake's room with him at night.
Jake's dad Steve, 54, said: "It makes him more independent. It gives him a companion.
"They are a match, they understand each other and they are very, very good friends."
Although Nudge is there to help out her new owner, Jake must also take care of her.
Steve said: "It's Jake's responsibility to look after her. He has to tell us when it's her feed time. It's a two-way partnership.