Barking mad! Meet Griffin the super pooch who shows why dogs truly are a girl’s best friend
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but this incredibly gifted dog would beg to differ.
Griffin the adorable golden retriever cross will do anything for disabled owner Clare Syversten – including getting her dressed, loading the washing machine – and even flushing the toilet.
Clare, 26 from Northolt, north-west London, suffers from the degenerative bone condition Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which can mean the slightest movement causes her joints to dislocate, but her adorable canine companion is always there to pick up anything she drops.
While out and about, Griffin presses the buttons at road crossings, put’s Clare’s fruit and veg into separate bags, grabs items on low shelves that Clare can’t reach and hands her purse over the the cashier when paying for shopping.
When the inseparable pair get home from their outings, the super pooch opens and closes doors and helps Clare transfer from her electric wheelchair to a manual one as well as helping her undress before bedtime.
Volunteer charity worker Clare says she couldn’t live without her remarkably clever Griffin.
“She said: “Having Griffin around has given me my confidence back. I really couldn’t live without him.
“My condition seriously limits what I can do and I used to depend a lot on other people; even something as trivial as picking up a pen would cause my wrist to dislocate.
“I don’t need to depend on other people now as Griffin just does everything for me; he’s my hero. I think it would be easier to list the things he doesn’t do.”
Clare met Griffin through the charity Canine Partners, who match assistance dogs with disabled owners to make their lives easier.
She heard about the charity while on a wheelchair tennis camp, but waited until she had her own disabled flat before applying to the scheme.
She attended a training day in July 2013 and describes the moment she first laid eyes on the dog that was to become her new best friend.
“It was definitely love at first sight, I knew as soon as I saw him that he was mine,” she said.
“The first thing I thought was ‘wow look how big your paws are!’ and before long he jumped up on my lap, he was so friendly.”
Griffin has now been helping Clare out for nearly two years and his amazing skills attract a big audience.
Clare says doing a normal shop can now take a while due to people stopping to admire Griffin at work.
“We have a big audience whenever we go out and about now,” she said.
“People look at him carrying out his tasks and you can hear them saying ‘wow look at what that dog is doing’.
“We get stopped a lot and people ask me about Griffin, it might take us a bit longer to do our weekly shop but its positive attention so I don’t mind.”
Clare says one of the main differences now is her own self-confidence and that having Griffin has made her feel more assured about leaving the house.
“I used to be really quite nervous about going out on my own but that has all changed now,” she said.
“Now though, I have no hesitation about going out and it’s all down to Griffin.
“I really do not know what I’d do without him; he’s changed my life completely.”
Jenny Moir from Canine Partners said: “The difference Griffin is making to Clare’s daily life is amazing but typical of the hundreds of canine partners working with their disabled partners.
“Not only are the physical tasks beneficial, which gives the disabled person some independence back, but also the dogs increase self-esteem, confidence and companionship.
“We are delighted that Clare and Griffin have such a wonderful bond already and we know their partnership will go from strength to strength.”