Armed forces veteran from Clacton praises the work of his assitance dog following painful fall

Barry and Guy. Picture: CANINE PARTNERS

Barry and Guy. Picture: CANINE PARTNERS - Credit: Archant

An armed forces veteran from Clacton who broke his back in three places says his world has “utterly changed” since being paired with an assistance dog.

Barry O’Connell, 71, was about to prune a tree when he fell and injured his spine in 2005, undergoing an eight-hour operation and having 85 bolts implanted into his back.

The former Royal Marine developed issues with his mobility, but was soon paired with assistance dog, Guy, from Canine Partners, who now helps him with everything from getting up in the morning to putting the washing on.

Their success story comes ahead of International Assistance Dogs Week – from August 6-12.

Mr O’Connell said: “My whole world utterly changed. When I got Guy I went from this cold, dark, wintery world, into the brightest golden summer time.

“I can never express the utter happiness I get working with him. I have been known at odd times to shed a tear of happiness.”