Retriever is now Adam's helping paw
ROCKY has changed Adam Griffiths' life.
The Collingwood Park man suffers from muscular dystrophy, and was placed with his golden retriever companion dog Rocky in October last year.
Since then they have become inseparable.
Rocky has improved Mr Griffiths' outlook, making getting up in the mornings a less daunting undertaking.
"I'm more eager to get out of my room and take Rocky for walks," he said.
"We head in a different direction every day, but of course Rocky loves it when we go to the local dog park."
Rocky gives Adam his independence, helping with tasks such as picking things up off the floor, and keeping Adam company and making him feel safe at his home in Ipswich.
They can also visit the lake where Mr Griffiths has a remote control boat, and when they return home Rocky is happy to snooze on his bed under a desk.
Mr Griffiths and his mother have both commented on how quickly Rocky fitted in with the rest of the family, coping easily with other animals in the house, including a bird and two cats.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that weakens the musculoskeletal systems and makes movement more difficult.
There is at present no cure.
Dogs like Rocky are given to people with physical disabilities to help with a variety of tasks.
These include helping pick up dropped items, opening and closing doors, getting phones, pressing buttons at traffic lights and even helping to unload dirty clothes from washing machines.
Trained by the Assistance Dogs Australia, each dog is an investment of more than $27,000 and takes two years to train.
Companion dogs like Rocky are trained in a variety of surroundings and circumstances to enhance the quality of life for people with physical disabilities by providing interactive tasks and love.
Companion dogs are often used by children, people who need additional care and those who just need a helping paw when around the house.
Assistance Dogs Australia is now training 50 dogs, although the number regularly changes.