Man in wheelchair with an assistance dog at the beach

Brian and Marine (Yellow Labrador)  

Partnered since 2019

“The majority of my hobbies and interests would not be possible without my Assistance Dog – Marine”


During an Armed Forces Day event in Littlehampton a few years ago I first became aware of Hounds for Heroes. I had an assistance dog via another charity who had helped me train my own dog however I was becoming concerned as I knew it was no longer possible for me to train my next due to my diminishing abilities. 

In 2018 I approached Hounds for Heroes as my current dog was due to retire the following year, I was a bit apprehensive as I didn’t feel worthy as my injury was the result of an occurrence during training. I phoned Hounds for Heroes who were very positive and sent me the application forms, I was certainly made to feel welcome, as well as part of a community which I had felt excluded from up to that point.

I am a wheelchair user and also have coordination problems so I tend to drop things, Marine will assist by picking these up, for example a pencil, my gloves my hat, the mouse at the computer, and I have even got him to pick up my cutlery at dinner (although I get them changed after), the only thing he doesn’t like to pick up is the hand sanitiser bottle. I have even had to get him to chase my hat in the wind along the prom on a windy day.

When we are out, he will press lift and door buttons as well as activate the button on a pelican crossing for me to cross the road. If we stop for coffee or lunch, he will help take my jacket off. When I am shopping, he will pick up items for me that are out of my reach as well as pick up the things I drop.

I enjoy the outdoors and try to get down to the seafront every day, I love to look out to the sea and watch the gulls soaring and gliding in the air and hovering in the breeze. Marine always likes to sit on the stone seat next to me and observe as well.

When we get home, he will shut the door and help me get my jacket and jumper off, then go and get my slippers before he settles down with a treat. He will even help me get my socks and trousers off at night. There is no way of really describing the pleasure, reassurance, and enablement he gives me, he is so patient when we are out and when I am talking, he just sits and waits, people often comment on how much he watches me when we are out.

I also enjoy music both listening as well playing my bass guitar and I like to visit shopping malls.

Having explained a little about me, my hobbies and interests the majority of these activities would not be possible without Marine my assistance dog.

He makes my interests possible by acting as part of my support network carrying out a variety of tasks to make me feel I have some independence.

His only request is breakfast and afternoon meal on time, treats when we are out and at home and some good free time in the park. 

Marine is an integral part of our family now and they are happy and confident that when he is with me, I am able to have some independence.