WATCH: How Northampton woman's life was changed by Labrador who unloads washing and helps her shop

A wheelchair-bound Northampton woman has shared how her life has been transformed by the help of her partner Babs - a chocolate Labrador who can do almost anything.

Monday, 29th October 2018, 4:07 pm
Updated Monday, 29th October 2018, 5:15 pm
Jackie and Babs. The 55-year-old Northampton woman says her life was transformed by the help of the chocolate labrador.

Jackie Topp, from Northampton, has multiple sclerosis and has been a wheelchair user for 25 years.

But now the 55-year-old has shared how a support dog from charity Canine Partners has helped her find her confidence and independence again.

Jackie says her life was transformed when she was partnered with canine partner Babs in July 2015.

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Jackie and Babs. The 55-year-old Northampton woman says her life was transformed by the help of the chocolate labrador.

She said: "I was always asking my husband to get me things and pass me things, so I wanted to become more independent. I am an independent person so I wanted to be able to do things for myself or have something that would be able to do those things for me.

"That’s what Babs means to me. Although the things I ask her to do are really small, they make my life so much easier."

The invaluable ways Babs helps Jackie around the house include taking her shoes off, opening doors, taking coats, and even opening drawers and fetching things from them.

She can get clothes out of the washing machine and help sort them into piles, she can fetch milk out of the fridge and can bring things off the bottom shelves when Jackie goes to the supermarket.

But when Jackie's husband passed away in 2017, she says Babs has become even more valuable to her.

She said: "Babs has particularly helped me with my confidence in the last nine months. My husband died last year in December and having Babs has really helped me cope better with that loss. She’s my reason for getting up in the morning and my reason for going out.

"I can't imagine my life without Babs now. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's the closest thing to me with a beating heart."

Canine Partners trains assistance dogs to transform the lives of people living with disabilities across the UK. The dogs are taught a range of everyday tasks including picking up and retrieving items, opening doors and undressing a person. For more information, visit their website.