Assistance dog a true best friend
SPORTING an adorable little cape and a matching leash, it’s easy to see why Crezette Fletcher’s assistance dog Matthew attracts attention wherever he goes.
Nothing could have prepared Ms Fletcher for the interest he would spark within the Fraser Coast community, however, when she moved to Maryborough four months ago.
“Matthew seems to be an absolute novelty here,” she laughs. “I get stopped absolutely everywhere with people asking ‘What does he do?’ and ‘Is he a guide dog?’
“It’s funny because moving from Nanango to Maryborough, I thought for sure there would be quite a few people with assistance dogs.
“But I haven’t run into a single person.”
With the help of the Chronicle, Ms Fletcher, who suffers from fibro myalgia – a painful condition causing fatigue, stiffness and headaches – hopes to set the record straight on her pooch and his purpose once and for all.
“Assistance dogs basically take up where hearing and guide dogs leave off,” she said.
“For example as part of my condition my whole body seizes up when I sleep. So in the morning when I want to get out of bed I call Matthew and he is able to manoeuvre himself under my shoulders and help push me up.
“He helps me out of chairs and, because I also suffer anxiety and panic attacks, he can even tell when I’m starting to overdo it.
“He can sense a change and can tell when I’m getting to a danger point. When he starts nudging me I know it’s time to take a break.”
Ms Fletcher retired from training assistance dogs last year and said without four-year-old Matthew she would be wheelchair bound by now.
“Because I also live alone he’s a great friend.”