Assistance Dog for Sophie

Hi everyone, thank you for taking the time to check out this page! I’m Richard, Sophie’s dad, and we are aiming to raise £7500 so Sophie can get an Assistance Dog. This will cover the cost of the dog, boarding, training, and initial vet bills.

About Sophie

Sophie is 17 years old and has a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a degenerative condition that causes her muscles and organs to become weaker over time. Sophie has very limited movement in all her limbs, meaning she is a full-time wheelchair user. She also has chronic fatigue and chronic pain that she has had 3 major reconstructive surgeries for. Despite this, Sophie is very optimistic and has big goals for her future, hoping to go to university next year. 

A rapid decline in Sophie’s health has prompted the search for an Assistance Dog that will accompany her to uni. The dog will be trained by Wild Spirit Canines, who have met with Sophie and agreed that having an Assistance Dog would benefit her massively. Unlike other Assistance Dog organisations, Wild Spirit Canines will tailor the training to her, rather than following a generic programme that will not fully meet her needs. 

How an Assistance Dog will benefit Sophie

Having an Assistance Dog will benefit Sophie in many different ways. Sophie is no longer able to leave the house by herself, as she has lost the ability to press pedestrian crossing or lift buttons and cannot open and close doors. Her dog will be trained to do these things for her, enabling Sophie’s independence. The dog will also be able to retrieve dropped objects, which is helpful when Sophie is alone. Sophie often feels bad asking other people to help her with various things due to past experiences, and a dog would never get frustrated with her for repeatedly asking for help, so this will build her confidence.

It will also hugely benefit her mental health and wellbeing - due to Sophie’s fatigue, she has to budget her energy and often can’t join in with things those around her are doing, which can be very isolating. For example, she eats by herself every day at college because eating while talking to others leaves her too tired for her lessons. Sophie has depression and finds her disability difficult to deal with at times. She struggles to connect with people and make friends, so having a dog will provide her with the friendship and emotional support she can’t get from others. Sophie also often experiences lots of uncontrollable change, whether this is the progression of her disability, or carers/other professionals Sophie has built relationships with leaving. Her dog will be a reassuring constant in her life, and will be able to live with her in uni accommodation and accompany her everywhere she goes.

There is a treatment for Sophie’s condition, but this is delivered via spinal injection, and unfortunately one of her surgeries has made this impossible due to the placing of metal in her spine. Although having an Assistance dog will not slow the progression of her disability, it will make life with it much easier, much like the treatment would have done.

Your donation

Raising this money would be impossible without your help, and we are grateful for any donation, no matter how small.  

Thank you for your support,

Richard and Sophie

7.5% of all donations to Tree of Hope in relation to this appeal will be allocated to the general charitable purposes of Tree of Hope to cover our core operating costs.

If we raise insufficient funds, or surplus funds, then the funds will be used, if appropriate, to fund support for our child’s needs in accordance with Tree of Hope’s charitable objects.  If in those circumstances we are unable to use all or part of the funds for the benefit of our child in accordance with Tree of Hope’s charitable objects, then any funds that cannot be used will be transferred to be used for the general charitable purposes of Tree of Hope.

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