Steve and Kizzie - Assistance dog
Steve joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17 and progressed through the ranks, working with the Royal Marines and earning the coveted Green Beret in the process.
In 2008, while travelling home from work, Steve was hit by a car and thrown from his motorbike. He suffered a burst fracture of the neck which irreparably damaged his spinal cord leaving him paralysed from the shoulders down. His world completely collapsed.
After a long time in hospital, Steve was transferred to Headley Court military rehab unit, where he heard about Canine Partners. A visit was arranged, and that's when he saw what they could do and how they could help him.
Before Steve met Kizzie, he had lost a lot of weight, had anxiety and breathing difficulties, and was suffering from depression. Coping with the transition from an active lifestyle into a wheelchair was soul-destroying, as he could see the effect it was having on his family. The only interaction he had with his children was to talk or watch them from a wheelchair or bed.
There was an instant bond between Steve and Kizzie and she has given him a new lease of life. When they go out and about, she helps by getting those difficult lift buttons that are just out of his reach, and he doesn't have to take a carer with him. In a shop, she takes his wallet and passes it to the cashier.
At home, when he drops something like his phone, remote or keys she instantly picks them up and returns them to his lap. But the real reward he has from Kizzie is the life she has helped him get back, in particular the close relationship with his young children, as he can take them out to play again down the park with Kizzie.