Allen Parton's own repatriation after serving in the Gulf War was back through Royal Wootton Bassett, as it has been for so many other servicemen and women. Returning to the town to tell his story therefore resonated both with him and with many of those in the hall, who have themselves turned out to welcome home our armed forces from duty in the past. Allen was delighted to see that so many people had given their time to show support and interest in his story, and those of many others the charity has been able to help.
Hounds for Heroes is still a relatively small charity, but one that works hard to ensure a better quality of life for both armed forces and civilian emergency services personnel who have been affected either physically or mentally during service, with an lasting impact on their lives. Allen's motivating story is laced with both humour and sadness, but the power of animals (in this case, the trained assistance dogs) to change people's lives for the better, and to make them more bearable, was something that left an indelible impression on the audience.
The intuition of dogs is amazing. What can also be trained is enlightening.
Assistance dogs can be trained to help at cashpoints, or to swipe Oyster cards on the underground system (and yes, the dogs have their own cards too). With three assistance dogs present that evening (C.J., Rookie and Clooney) there were plenty of cuddles.
"Together We Can".