Billy, a talented dog with a special job, is now sharing his adventures online as he trains to help people with dementia, mental illness or learning difficulties enjoy a full and active life.
His training has been funded by a monumental effort from the friends and colleagues of the late Billy Graham, a business development manager for Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare’s Tynetec brand, and his wife Lisa, who were tragically killed in the 2015 terror attack in Tunisia.
Billy Graham and his wife had personal experience of the great work that Alzheimer’s Scotland does for individuals suffering from dementia and their families, including supporting his mother who also suffered from the disease.
All those who worked with Mr Graham wanted to honour his memory and whilst talking with Alzheimer’s Scotland, heard about a fantastic initiative called the Dementia Dog project, which trains talented dogs that can make a real difference to the lives of people in the community.
Billy’s Tynetec colleagues made the decision to raise £15,000 to fully sponsor a dog in his name. They took part in a number of events including the Edinburgh Marathon, a 200 mile bike ride from the Grahams’ home town of Perth to Tynetec’s HQ in Blyth, Northumberland, and a quiz night at the company’s annual sales meeting.
In December 2016, the Dementia Dog project was presented with a cheque for £15,975 to enable them to train Golden Labrador puppy Billy as a Community Assistance dog. As Billy undergoes his training, his adventures and progress can be followed online at www.independentforlonger.com
The website guides visitors to information and personal case studies on various Technology Enabled Care services (TECs). Tynetec, a brand of Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare, is the company behind the platform.
National sales manager for Tynetec, Stuart Carroll, said: “Billy and Lisa were a wonderful couple who had experience of the challenges families living with dementia face. They also loved dogs and were aware of how much joy they can bring even in the darkest times.
“We all agreed sponsoring Billy was an opportunity to remember some special people in a way that we hope would make them smile, and also make a real difference to the lives of others in their time of need.”