£400 boost for dog charity

Leonie Zacharias (left), Vicky Welsh (right).
Leonie Zacharias (left), Vicky Welsh (right).
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A dog charity is more than £400 richer, thanks to the efforts of a Wearside worker.

Leonie Zacharias, 50, from Sunderland, an administration assistant with Stagecoach North East at its depot in the city, helped to organise a fundraising event at Newton Community Hall with Have A Good Dog dog training company.

The day raised more than £400 for Dog Aid which helps people with disabilities to lead an independent life.

Dog Aid (Assistance in Disability) works with people to train their own pet dog to help them with daily tasks such as opening doors, closing the curtains and making the bed.

Leonie’s partner Barry, a former Stagecoach bus driver for 27 years, has benefited from their dog training when they had to train their own dog, Alex.

Leonie said: “After being a bus driver for so many years, a job he loved, Barry unfortunately developed peripheral neuropathy, a painful and debilitating condition which affected his hands and feet and meant he had to give up his job.

“To help maintain his independence, we took on a black Labrador puppy and decided to train him to help Barry around the house and out in the community.”

Leonie and Barry met dog trainer Vicky Welsh from Have a Good Dog, who also volunteers for Dog Aid, and together they trained Alex to achieve his Level 1 in skills training.

This means the dog can pick up Barry’s walking stick or keys, and open the door for him.

Leonie added: “We went to dog training classes together and joined the Dog Aid programme, and Alex can now progress to his next level of training, which is already making such a difference to Barry’s quality of life.

“I wanted to help this great cause and give something back.

“I worked with Vicky and Dog Aid to help organise a fundraising day, with workshops, and selling tickets and collecting raffle prizes and gifts for the tombola stall.”