Meet Ikea (Career Changed Assistance Dog)
This story came from Sandra Parton, who works with Canine Partners For Independence. You can also see some of Ikea's recent media work by clicking here.

Ikea is nearly 3 years old now [January 2002]. He came to live with me when he was eight weeks old to begin his life as an assistance dog for Canine Partners For Independence. I was his 'Puppy Parent'.   

Every thing was fine at first, then at ten weeks of age he was ill with vomiting and an upset tummy which didn't seem to clear up properly. And I also found a large lump on his tail so he underwent surgery to remove the lump.

He recovered well from the operation but he continued to be sick and was diagnosed with a long term gut infection. He needed six months of antibiotics to clear the infection. Even though the treatment was unpleasant, Ikea was always happy. He loved every one and was able to continue with his training. At nine months of age we had the all clear and things were looking up, until I noticed that he was limping and awkward as he walked.

After X-Rays and three months of investigation, it was decided that he would not be able to continue with his training. He had problems with his hocks that meant that he had poor mobility in his hind legs. Since his retirement at twelve months of age, he has also been diagnosed as having an under-active thyroid gland.
All his hard work and personality have not gone to waste as I was able to adopt Ikea and he now does Assistance Dog Demonstration Work for Canine Partners For Independence.

He loves the work, although he's not sure about the camera. Here is Ikea demonstrating some of his many learned skills, such as retrieving clothes from the dryer and paying for a purchase. And, the article below shows Ikea (pictured in the middle) at work with his home brother, Assistance Dog Endal (shown on the left).


I thought this was Bark-lays bank..., Wednesday, February 28, 2007

They might not be able to help if you forget your Pin, but these dogs can get your money out without paws-ing for thought.

The pooches are among an army of 'assistance dogs' who have been trained to withdraw money from cash machines for their disabled owners.

They are adept at inserting and withdrawing cards at ATMs to help owners in wheelchairs who are often not able to stretch far enough to do it themselves.

A spokesman for charity Canine Partners, which trains the dogs, said: 'They put in the card and take it out and take out the money and give it to the person in the wheelchair.

'They can't put in the Pin but a person in a wheelchair can go sideways on and do that.'

Up to 30 dogs are trained each year and the charity is hoping to double that figure next year. It takes two years to train them, in which time they also learn to load the washing and pick up items from shop shelves. One of the graduates of the scheme is ten-year-old Endal, who helped start the ATM service by chance. The labrador's owner is Allen Parton, a Gulf War veteran who lost the feeling down his right side after an accident in 1991 while serving as an officer in the Royal Navy.

Now in a wheelchair, he said that one day he was struggling to retrieve his cash from an ATM when Endal jumped up to reach for the card, money and receipt with his mouth. Mr Parton said: 'It was amazing, as he had never been taught to do this.' The feat helped Endal earn the Dog of the Millennium award in 1999.

Ikea with his entire 2 and 4-legged family