The loving relationship between a young disabled girl and an Exeter police dog puppy is helping both of them.
Tag is eight months old and Marina is the eight-year-old daughter of Tag’s puppy walkers, Jo and Gideon Pritchard, who adopted her when she was two from Russia, where she was born with congenital limb problems affecting both legs and one arm.
Marina was born in Russia. Her Mum, Jo – a children’s physiotherapist, met her while she was working for the charity, ThePromise which trains people in the use of a method known as ‘portage’, a pre-school education system designed to support the development of children with disabilities. Jo and Gideon adopted Marina when she was just over two years old.
Marina wears custom sports prosthetics ‘running blades’ ever since a chance meeting with Paralympian, Richard Whitehead, who arranged for Marina to go to London and have the blades fitted.
The blades enable Marina to run, jump and move around to her heart’s content. She is very sporty and enjoys running, tennis and swimming.
Now her parents say that her confidence has grown through the roof since Marina and Tag have begun playing together every day. Mum Jo said: “We’ve just seen how much she’s grown and how much confidence she’s got.”
Its really amazing howTag displayed an unusual sensitivity and gentleness when interacting with Marina, who has attended every training session with her family and absolutely adores Tag.
Tag is an intelligent and calm puppy and adores Marina.
He seems to understand her disabilities and limitations and is incredibly gentle with her, which is amazing for a dog of his age.
Marina says she’ll miss Tag when he moves on to the next stage of his training and that next time she has a dog she’d like a smaller breed, so that it can sleep on her bed!