Disabled mother bids to shed the pounds to help turn life around

Littleport woman with assistance dog

Clare Bass has been helped on a daily basis by four-year-old assistance dog Niamh (pictured) since 2018. - Credit: JustGiving/Clare Bass

A mother-of-two from Littleport who gained weight after being confined to a wheelchair for the last eight years wants to bring smiles to people’s faces in a bid to turn her life around. 

Clare Bass ran a dog grooming business and worked with race horses before several falls, four prolapsed discs in her back and sciatica forced her to give up work in 2013. 

“Within five months, the pain was so bad, I could no longer walk without severe pain,” she said. 

“I was in bed for months and used crutches and that got so painful, I then thought I could get along in a wheelchair.” 

Clare, who suffered with mental health issues during the previous two lockdowns, then applied to disability charity Canine Partners, which helps provide assistance dogs to disabled people to bring a greater quality of life. 

After being successful, Clare was partnered with four-year-old Niamh in 2018 who helps with daily tasks that the former business owner is unable to do. 

“Niamh can open and shut doors for me, she’ll get the phone for me and take things to people,” she said. 

Disabled Littleport woman aims to shed seven stone

Clare Bass ran a dog grooming business and also worked with race horses, before several falls and two prolapsed discs forced her to quit her jobs. - Credit: Clare Bass

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“She gets a treat every time she does a job for me and I teach them with play. Everything she does is great for her and I don’t have the guilt of asking ‘can you do this for me’ as to her, it’s like ‘what else can I do?’” 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Clare has always tried to stay positive-minded and has so far lost over a stone in five weeks. 

She is now determined to continue losing weight in an effort to reach her £1,000 target for the charity that has already made a difference on her life. 

“I have wanted to lose weight for a very long time, but I’ve never felt ready,” Clare said.  

“I’ve piled on the pounds during lockdown and decided I need to change my life as I have kept weight as a way of protecting myself. 

“I feel like I’m in a different place now. Niamh has really helped me in so many ways and I’m ready to take that leap and stop trying to protect myself.  

“Everyone feels so down and saying how awful things are, but I feel nice to say I’m doing a positive change and bringing smiles to people’s faces.” 

To donate, visit: https://bit.ly/3taclV4.