The naughty ones were awaiting a hell whereas the well behaved ones received morsels and other delicacies. Dozens of dog owners, as well as Helppes supporters, gathered this year to celebrate St. Nicholas day and donate money for further dog training.
An incredible story
Every assistance dog has achieved some astonishing deeds. For example, Odetta, the Labrador retriever used as an assistance dog and a balance signalling dog, has saved Olga Svatonova’s life three times already. Mrs. Svatonova has multiple disabilities. She has difficulty walking after an accident, suffers from heart disease, diabetes, and has impaired vision. Odetta often picks up the crutches, opens the doors or drawers, assists during dressing, etc. Her most significant ability, however, is to switch on the buzzer to call for help should Mrs. Svatonova fall unconscious. The dog is also capable of passing the insulin kit. Since the beginning of 2008 she has used the buzzer three times.
Bara stopped policemen
Bara, another such dog has assisted Mrs. Iveta Urbanova since 2003. Mrs Urbanova was a blind wheelchair user who died three years later. Despite the affectionate love of Urbanova’s family, Bara was transferred to a different master called Zdenek Hrabe.
She can do virtually anything one could wish for, from passing over the phone to opening and closing doors claimed Mr. Hrabe.
But she helped me most of all during the walk through Kunraticky forest. I fell over with my crutches and couldn’t get up. Bara ran to find some help he added. She found a police car and persuaded the policemen to follow her so that everything had a happy ending.
I would like to express a great thanks to Mr. Richard Urban who let me keep this outstanding dog said Mr. Hrabe. Surely, Bara, Odetta, and others deserve lots of treats from St. Nicholas.
Who do the dogs serve?
Helppes is the first and the only non-profit association of its kind in the Czech Republic helping disabled people to integrate into society and live independently with the help of specially trained dogs. “We provide a complex service including the training of the applicants before and throughout the active service of the dog” stated Zdena Dousova, a chief executive of Helppes; which is a registered organisation providing social services via its professional team of dog training specialists as well as a team of skilled professionals working with the disabled people. ZTP, ZTP/P and TP cardholders receive the services free of charge. They include people who are: temporary or permanent wheelchair users, severely handicapped people, those with impaired sight and hearing, cardiac patients, suffers of seizure disorders such as epilepsy or narcolepsy, combined disability people and handicapped children. The dogs are also specially trained for mentally disabled autistic children and elderly people living in social institutions.
Sport for the handicapped and their dogs
Entirely unique to these dogs are their abilities in sport. In developing this, Helppes is also helping the disabled to utilise their free time. Have you ever heard about flyball? It enables the dog to use its abundant stores of energy and the owner to compete with other healthy individuals. Other suitable activities for the handicapped include para-agility or dance with dog. An important factor is that since the existence of the organisation a large community has grown out of all the people involved in it. This includes not only the handicapped but also their families and friends. Consequently, it is invaluable to support their activities.