Tilsworth woman features in new charity video with her ‘amazing’ assistance dog

Shelley and Kibble
Shelley and Kibble

A disabled woman who suffers with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome features in a new video for Canine Partners that showcases the tasks her assistance dog does for her.

Shelley Fitzsimmons, 44, from Tilsworth, has been partnered with Kibble for four years and he helps her regain her confidence and some of her independence.

She has suffered from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a lack of collagen so she dislocates from head to foot, since she was nine, some days she can move around a lot and other days she is confided to her wheelchair.

She said: “I fall over very regularly and I drop everything. I can dislocate with ease by not really doing much at all.

“Life before Kibble was fairly grim, especially about six years before. Dislocations were becoming very frequent and I was struggling to walk.

“I relied on my husband and children constantly, which was really horrible. It was very hard, I felt very useless.

“My son discovered Canine Partners when he saw Kate, who has the same condition as me, and canine partner Byron on the One Show.”

Her son applied online and she filled out the form, she was partnered with Kibble in 2014.

She added: “Life with Kibble is amazing. Because he does so much for me I don’t need to be in my wheelchair as much, I can use my strength to do the things I want to do.

“Having him with me just cheers me up constantly. I’ve got my independence back again and I’m never on my own.”

Kibble helps Shelley with her everyday life, including getting out of bed, loading the washing machine and fetching her slippers.

She said: “It absolutely amazes me what Canine Partners have trained him to do. He helps me do the shopping and he gets me out in the fresh air. Kibble can also do an emergency alarm for me if I need help or fall down. I shout “bell!” and he presses it.

“Kibble has had a big impact on my confidence and independence. I can’t imagine life without Kibble now.

“I can’t thank Canine Partners enough really. He’s given me a happy life again. It’s amazing to have Kibble.”

Canine Partners trains assistance dogs to transform the lives of people living with disabilities across the UK, boosting their confidence and independence.

The dogs are taught a range of everyday tasks including picking up and retrieving items, opening doors and undressing a person, and they can fetch help in an emergency.

To view the video visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlUjCMgHvzg&t=98s