Endal and Allen with 'Mel'
ENDAL THE Assistance Dog is no stranger to the pages of OUR DOGS… or the tabloids… or the TV screen. Last week was no exception when the amazing Endal and his owner Allen Parton did all three!
First of all, the pair appeared in The Sun in a very entertaining and visually led article written by Caroline Iggulden entitled ‘Britain’s Brainiest Dog’.
"If you thought your dog was clever for fetching your slippers then meet Endal – Britain's brainiest canine," wrote Iggulden. "This bow-wonder performs a host of astounding tasks for his wheelchair-bound owner, Gulf War veteran Allen Parton.
"Endal can use a cashpoint, buy a Lottery ticket and do the shopping. And his amazing skills have just earned him a special canine lifetime achievement award.
"Allen, a former Naval Officer from Clanfield, Hants, reckons his four-legged friend has given him a quality of life he never thought possible after he lost his memory and the use of his legs following a horrific vehicle accident in the first Gulf War.
"The Sun spent a day with the war veteran, 45, and his helpful hound." She writes.
Then follows the low-down on a typical day, starting, naturally with waking up and breakfast:
"07:00 From the moment Allen wakes in the morning, Endal is by his side waiting to spring into action.
The Labrador tugs back the covers with his teeth and pushes Allen's legs round so he can get into his wheelchair.
Ten minutes later, he rushes into the bathroom and lifts the loo seat for Allen before dashing back to the bedroom to retrieve his master's socks from the drawer.
07:30 Next, it's time for breakfast and Endal gets the cereal box out of the cupboard ready for Allan to use.
Delivery fan ... Endal bounds up to get the morning post after hearing the letterbox
Afterwards, it's time for a shave, Allen signals to Endal by touching his face and his pet races upstairs to fetch his razor.
At 8am the rattle of the letterbox alerts Endal to collect the morning post from the front door."
The article continues, explaining how, following a horrific accident in the first Gulf War in 1991, Allen returned from the Gulf in 1991, and was unable to remember anything about his wife Sandra or children Zoe and Liam, then aged five and six, with the result that he spiralled into severe depression and even attempted suicide twice.
However, all this changed following a chance meeting between the deeply depressed ex-serviceman and the then disobedient Endal.
When Allen's day care centre bus failed to turn up one day, Sandra took him with her to Canine Partners, where she worked.
"She sat me in a corner and, as usual, I ignored everything that was going on around me," says Allen. "This 11-week-old Labrador puppy came over and placed something in my lap and I didn't take a blind bit of notice.
"The dog was clearly annoyed that he hadn't got a reaction or any praise so he tried again.
"He eventually piled so many things into my lap that I broke a smile and our magical partnership was born."
The charity had been trying to train Endal as an assistance dog for the disabled but he refused to follow orders and his future with the charity was doubtful that he would ever make the grade. But when the workers saw how well he interacted with Allen, they let him take him home.
"We were like two lame, grumpy old gits who had found each other," Allen jokes. Despite his amazing expertise, Endal has never been trained to carry out the tasks he does for Allen.
"No one made him do anything for me - he just helps me because he enjoys it and wants to." says Allen.
The freedom helped bring Allen back from the brink and restore his relationship with Sandra. In fact, Allen fell in love with Sandra all over again.
Two years ago the couple reaffirmed their commitment by remarrying – as reported in OUR DOGS at the time.
"I may not have many memories but thanks to Endal I now have an enormous passion for life," Allen says. "My life was like a puzzle. The pieces were all jumbled up - but Endal gave them back to me."
Allen and Endal’s amazing story was related on ITV’s top rated daytime TV show Des and Mel on Tuesday of last week, when two indomitable double acts met each other.
To the delight of the studio audience – and especially the two presenters Des O’Connor and Melanie Sykes – Endal carried out a series of helping-around-the-house tasks showing just what a clever dog he is.
As if that wasn’t enough, Endal then made friends with another famous guest on the show, none other than the lovely Jennifer Ellison. After that, he accompanied Allen to Harrods and met Santa.
The next day saw a repeat screening of the BBC’s ‘Airport’ programme, showing Allen and Endal flying from Heathrow and their later appearance at the OUR DOGS Golden Bone ceremony, where Endal was a top award winner… As befitting the star he undoubtedly is, of course.