~ Helen and Bindi ~

In 2018, Helen (Helen Vivienne Fletcher – Writer) met her lovely assistance dog, Bindi. Bindi, a golden labrador, was matched with Helen to aid her in her day-to-day life. Since then, the two have formed a strong bond.

Before being paired with Bindi, Helen was experiencing some health challenges. She was chronically sleep-walking, which led to her being constantly exhausted and often sustaining injuries. She would often fall over. As a result of all this, Helen’s overall health was suffering.

Soon enough, Helen was introduced to Bindi. The two were paired together through Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust. Assistance Dogs is an organisation in NZ who train dogs to help people with many different forms of disabilities, from sleep-walking to epilepsy and more.

Recalling the first time Helen meet Bindi, she came into her apartment carrying her own bed and sniffing everything. Helen fell instantly in love. Bindi was a bit shy but also very excited about her new home and human companion. While Bindi was winding down for a nap, she took Helen’s hand so she could still be aware of her to make sure she was okay.

Having Bindi meant that Helen was no longer injuring herself as much from sleepwalking. While she slept, Bindi would lay across Helen’s legs so she couldn’t get out of bed. If she did manage to get up, Bindi would follow her and ensure her safety and that she didn’t leave the house. Not only this but Helen’s blood pressure occasionally drops. When this happens, Bindi can sense this and will alert her to this.

Since having Bindi in her life, Helen has unfortunately developed a condition where she may temporarily go blind. Although this is frightening when it occurs, having Bindi by her side makes Helen feel a bit safer. During these moments, Bindi is right there to ensure Helen’s safety. She guides Helen to somewhere she can sit and wait for her vision to return. One specific time, Helen recalls her vision starting to go while they were at the park. Bindi was able to guide her all the way across two roads and back home.

Bindi has given Helen her independence back. She is now able to be part of the community and her friends and family all know she is safe with Bindi by her side. She feels reassured that if anything were to happen with her health, Bindi will be there to help her.

Helen has been able to be more involved within her community thanks to Bindi. Bindi has participated in two weddings as a brides-dog. Not only this, but she joins Helen at her weekly storytimes at bookstores, Helen’s writing workshops and other commitments. Through this, Bindi enjoys hearing Helen’s stories as well as interacting with those who listen. Because of this, Bindi has become a very well-known part of the theatre and writing community in New Zealand and especially Wellington.

In November of this year, Helen released her book ‘Familiars and Foes’ with Witchy Fiction. The book focuses on the main character, Adeline, and her assistance dog, Coco. Coco is very much inspired by Bindi. The book itself shows the amazing bonds between humans and their animals and how much they both impact on one another.

It is obvious how much both Helen and Bindi mean to each other. Bindi has helped Helen live the life she wants to. She is able to be more active in her community and to have more independence. The love between the two is evident and they have helped one another grow so much in their time together.