THEY say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – but this one’s learning a new one every day for a year.
Clever Cocker Spaniel Bella is top dog when it comes to tricks and can do anything from playing basketball to rolling out a carpet and kung fu moves to emptying the washing machine.
Now the performing pooch is doing one trick a day for a 365-day challenge to raise funds for a charity.
Owner Lynn Stacey, 48, of Hetton, who has a number of disabilities, says she’d be lost without Bella, an assistance dog who helps her with day-to-day tasks.
The pair are a month into the challenge, which began on New Year’s Day, and they’re racking up sponsorship for national voluntary organisation, Dog A.I.D.
Lynn, who uses a wheelchair to get around, said: “You wouldn’t believe what Bella can do, she’s amazing. From fetching me things to helping me undress and emptying the washing machine. I’d be lost without her.
“We already do the Dog A.I.D stand at Crufts to inform people about the charity, but I also wanted to do something completely different to help them.
“Bella is already a Champion Trick Dog and she loves doing her tricks so I thought, why not do a trick a day for a year?”
Lynn uploads the tricks to Bella’s website and people can choose to sponsor specific tricks.
She explained: “Some are very simple tricks, some are more complex. She plays dead, does the meerkat where she stands on her back legs, and does a hand stand on her front legs, all sorts of things.
“We’ve raised £160 so far and we’re hoping to raise £1,000 by the end of the year.”
Lynn, who has trained to become an Associate Trick Dog Instructor, says the tricks put a wag in three-year-old Bella’s tail.
“Bella is at her best when she is learning, so adding tricks to her existing knowledge base made perfect sense,” she said. “It has brought us closer as a working partnership and many of the tricks have a purpose in our everyday life as well.”
Dog A.I.D provides pet dog training to people over fifteen years old with physical disabilities up to Assistance Dog standard, where suitable.
To view Bella’s website, log on to www.bella-blot.weebly.com. To make a donation or sponsorship, www.everyclick.com/bellas-365-trick-challenge or email firstname.lastname@example.org
l For further information on the charity, visit www.dogaid.org.uk.