'She was an amazing friend' – Ipswich rehabilitation dog Hope dies aged 9

Owner and handler Sophie Wellum-Mayes and Hope

Owner and handler Sophie Wellum-Mayes and Hope - Credit: Jemma Martin of JM Photography

An Ipswich brain injury charity has announced the sad death of its rehabilitation dog Hope. 

The cross Cocker Spaniel-Labrador was nine when she was put to sleep on November 3, the charity Headway Suffolk has said. 

She was discovered to have had an aggressive form of cancer, Hemangiosarcoma, after being taken to the vet in August where she had surgery on a ruptured tumour of the spleen. She then had her spleen removed and was given two to three months to live. 

Owner and handler Sophie Wellum-Mayes and Hope

Hope - Credit: Jemma Martin of JM Photography

Owner and handler Sophie Wellum-Mayes said: “On the day she died she went over the park and played ball. Half an hour after returning she was sick and very quickly became unwell. That evening I took her to the vets and she was put to sleep as there was nothing that could be done to save her.

"Hope was truly the most amazing friend anyone could want.

Owner and handler Sophie Wellum-Mayes and Hope

Owner and handler Sophie Wellum-Mayes and Hope - Credit: Jemma Martin of JM Photography

"She lifted me up when I was down and pushed me to better myself. I have her to thank for the success of this scheme. She was my ‘bomb proof’ dog. I could trust her in any situation and with any client.

"She changed for the person she was working with to meet their needs, which goes far beyond any training I could give her. She will be sorely missed by not just me but everyone who had the privilege to know her.”

Headway Suffolk loses its first brainy dog, Hope

Headway Suffolk loses its first brainy dog, Hope - Credit: Headway Suffolk

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Hope was part of Brainydogs, a unique companion dog scheme that was set up in 2011, to help people who have a neurological condition.

She helped clients to go for a walk, groom her, play games and tricks, and generally helping them with emotional and physical needs.

Prince Harry chats to the art class. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Prince Harry chats to the art class. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

She also met royalty including Prince Harry when he visited Headway Suffolk in 2017 and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex in 2014.

Hope was shortlisted for a Naturo SuperDog worker award but Ms Wellum-Mayes will be there on November 9 instead. 

Headway Suffolk is launching a Hope Memorial Fund in memory of this unique dog, who also has a book called Everybody needs Hope.

Anybody who wishes to donate can send donations to Hope Memorial Fund, Headway Suffolk, Epsilon house, West Road Ipswich IP3 9FJ. Cheques should be made out to Headway Suffolk.

For further information on how to get a companion Brainy Dog please email brainydogs@hotmail.com.

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