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Support Dog Fudge helps steelworks boss on the road to recovery

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Architectural fabrication boss Mark Pearson has credited a Support Dog for helping him to bounce back from serious illness.

Mark, the managing director of Yorkshire Fabrications in Sheffield, suffered liver and kidney failure in late 2015 and spent a month in Sheffield’s Northern General and Royal Hallamshire hospitals. His recovery was dealt a setback this year when he suffered a minor stroke.

Mark and his wife Carol agreed to become volunteer foster carers for Support Dogs, and have provided a home to two dogs this year, most recently a border terrier-pug cross called Fudge.

Support Dogs is a national charity that trains and provides specialist assistance dogs to increase independence and quality of life for children and adults with challenging conditions.

“Having Fudge around has helped me on the road to recovery,” said Mark, speaking at the start of National Volunteers’ Week (1-12 June).

“I have a stressful job, which can see me working 13 hour days. Fudge has forced me to change my routine to the benefit of my health.

“Fudge is the most loving, caring dog that you will ever come across. He is so friendly and wants to be with us all of the time.”

Fudge is trained at Support Dogs’ centre on Brightside Lane, Sheffield, from Monday to Friday and the Pearsons look after him at evenings and weekends at their home in Dore.

Mark added: “I take him to school and pick him up every day. That means I go to work a bit later and leave earlier. Having Fudge has taken two to three hours off my daily schedule. He even comes to work with me and the team love him. He’s no bother at all – he just wonders around the office and settles under someone’s desk.”

Mark and Carol are supporting Fudge’s training at Support Dogs by reinforcing what he learns during the day including walking to heel, sitting at kerbs before crossing roads and recall.

“He is very intelligent and is picking things up quickly,” said Mark. “We will be looking after him until August, when he will go and live with someone who will greatly benefit from his company.

“As a charity, I can’t praise Support Dogs highly enough. For me personally it is a fantastic experience that has helped me in getting better.”

Danny Anderson, fundraising manager at Support Dogs, said: “We are so grateful to families like the Pearsons, who agree to look after our dogs while they are being trained. Mark is proof of how a dog can have such a positive impact on a life. Fudge will go on to make a huge difference to people who really need their company and support.

“We need more foster carers in the south Yorkshire area or who can provide a caring home to a dog and drop them off at our centre near to Junction 34 of the M1 and Meadowhall.”

Volunteers’ Week is run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.

Mark Pearson and Fudge

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