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Inspirational dog leads Melanie to Marathon challenge

Malvern Editorial 11th Apr, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A DEDICATED dog which has helped to transform the life of its disabled owner has inspired her friend to tackle this year’s London Marathon.

Melanie Hinds, 38, decided to take on the 26-mile challenge, which takes place on Sunday (April 13), after meeting Kate Arnett, from Colwall near Malvern, who suffers from a range of physical and neurological problems and her dog Ernie.

The nine-year-old Labrador helps Kate carry out daily tasks, including getting out of bed, fetching medicines and even loading and unloading the washing machine.

Support Dogs trained Ernie to work alongside its owner and Melanie said she was hoping to help raise the charity’s profile by taking part in the country’s biggest marathon.

“Through the charity I met Kate and her dog while I was training in the Malvern Hills and I was captured by her story,” she said. “I really hope I can help raise awareness and funds for Support Dogs as they really need more people to know about them as there is a lot of demand for their services and they help children and adults across the country.”

Kate said she was delighted Melanie chose Support Dogs as she felt more people could benefit from having a trained dog.

“No government funding goes into training the dogs when having Ernie actually saves social services an awful lot of money,” she said.

“What Melanie is doing is raising awareness of Support Dogs and I hope as many people as possible can be made aware of it as Ernie has transformed my life. He has given me the freedom to be more active.”

Melanie said she had sustained a torn calf while training, but she said she was determined to complete her third marathon.

“The first time I did it I was injured and then last year it was a week after the Boston bombings so London came out in force, which threw me as I was running through roaring crowds.

“Hopefully this will be third time lucky and I just want to cross the finish line knowing I could not have done anymore.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/melaniehinds or log onto www.support-dogs.org.uk for more information on Support Dogs.

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