November 20, 2018

Soldiering On Awards 2016: My dog has inspired me to enjoy life once again

TODAY we unveil our second extraordinary candidate for the People’s Choice Award to honour the inspirational achievements of members of the Armed Forces who have triumphed in the face of adversity.

Military charity Soldiering On has invited our readers to choose from a field of six.

The winner will receive the honour in April.

Toby the faithful hound is not just a companion for injured soldier Jonathon Giemza-Pipe – he is helping him lead a better life.

From picking up dropped train tickets to making space in a crowd, Jonathon says the labrador retriever cross has helped his family “discover what it is like to smile and laugh again”

Jonathon was suffering pain in his hips after more than 20 years with the Royal Artillery.

In 2009 he needed two new hips and operations on his spine for extensive nerve damage.

With the help of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court, in Surrey, he can walk short distances but is mainly wheelchair bound.

The charity Canine Partners felt he would benefit from a dog trained to help disabled people and Toby has transformed Jonathon’s life.

He said: “He will work to make a sort of hole for me in a crowd, which is marvellous. I am a totally different person today with Toby by my side.”

He is also a great family pet for the couple’s boys Charlie, 11, Freddie, nine, and Alexander, six.

Charity spokeswoman Jenny Moir said: “We have trained more than 500 dogs to work with disabled people and the results are amazing.

“Toby has made a huge difference to Jonathon and we are delighted to nominate them.”

To vote for them, or five other candidates, go to

Or write to the Sunday Express, Soldiering On Awards, 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN.

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