Wheelchair user Sampson Willoughy, from our Clos Trevithick Scheme in Cornwall, shares how his dog, Sprocket*, and his handcycle brought new adventures to his life during the pandemic.
“I enjoyed the quiet life of the first lockdown. Not needing to do anything outside my home felt great! I got everything I needed delivered, started budgeting and even managed to save a bit of money. Not bad really!
But by the second lockdown, things started to feel a little samey, there’s only so much you can do to keep yourself busy.
My Dad called one day and asked if I’d thought about getting a dog. We always had one when I lived at home, so I started to look online. I found some beautiful Sprocker puppies and gave the lady a call. Sadly, they were all sold, so I continued searching online.
Then, the lady who was selling the Sprocker a few weeks earlier, got back in touch to let me know someone had dropped out and our first choice dog was still there. My Dad and I jumped in the car straight away and went to see her. We instantly fell in love, and said yes there and then!
Training & walks
We spent the next couple of months training her and having lots of fun.
Once it was safe to take her out, I dragged out an old electric assisted handcycle attachment for my outdoor wheelchair, got it serviced and headed out with my carers to take Sprocket for walks. She got used to being outside and around my wheelchair, and after a couple of weeks, she already knew exactly what to do, and was loving it!
We took her to a local woodland, it was great fun, I got to burn some calories, and she enjoyed the amazing smells, trees and wildlife!
It felt so empowering to be able to visit areas like the woodland that would normally be off limits in just my wheelchair, or I would have to rely on someone else to push me! Sprocket gave me the independence, I didn’t realise was missing from my life.
Now, I get out a few times a week both with and without Sprocket for exercise. I’ve even done a couple of trips along Bodmin’s 11 mile camel trail. Go me!
I’ll share some videos soon, so keep an eye out for it in a future e-bulletin.
Let’s all make the best of what we can. Until next time, stay safe!”
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*If you're thinking about getting a pet, please check your Habinteg tenancy agreement to ensure you can keep a pet at your home.