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Kaiser Saves Day

Joanne Day and her assistance dog Kaiser

Joanne Day, of Shropshire, England, suffers from post traumatic dystonia, a rare neurological disorder which causes her muscles to spasm and remain in fixed, abnormal positions. Kaiser, a golden retriever/poodle cross, came to Day through Canine Partners Assistance Dogs, and quickly changed her life. "The difference he's made in life, he's changed everything," explains Day. "(He's) changed the person that I am. Before he arrived, I think I had been struggling a lot and I was a little bit down and despondent. I live alone and I'd gotten quite lonely and isolated living here. Because my disability is so visual, people use to point and laugh and stare and make comments. But then Kaiser arrived, and brought a light into my life."

Kaiser begins the day by pushing her wheelchair up to the bed. He also helps with the laundry, is able to get drinks out of the refrigerator, and when she sneezes, he even brings her a tissue. If she should fall and have an emergency, Kaiser is also trained to bring her the telephone.

Because of his dedication to his owner, Kaiser was awarded the Crufts Friends For Life Award which is voted on by the public. This award celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity. The pair was awarded their trophy during the Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham, England. Day says that Kaiser was "one in a million." "I have never had a dog before. He is my very first dog and I can't put into words what he has done for me." Kaiser competed against four other dogs to win the award.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: "The dogs nominated for this year's Friends for Life competition help to remind us what it is that makes the relationship between dog and man so very special. Each and every one of the finalists has helped to change and save lives, and can teach us all a lesson about loyalty, companionship and bravery."