Together we can

Damian’s story

Damian in uniform with his assistance dog Trooper.

PC Damian Malone faced paralysis after slipping two discs whilst making an arrest.

Damian explained, “My back took all the shock and I slipped two discs. I was out of action for a few weeks and couldn’t get out of bed. ”

Two years after the injury his condition worsened and he began to lose feeling in his feet and legs. A scan revealed that the two discs had burst and were compressing his spinal root nerve. Damian was faced with potential paralysis.

In 2009 he underwent a discectomy and a Spinal Cord Stimulator device was implanted in 2015. Consequently, the device has improved his condition and his children call him ‘RoboCop’.

PC Malone’s life was transformed after partnering with a Hounds for Heroes Labrador Retriever assistance dog, named Trooper.

Whenever I’ve faced difficult situations brought on by my condition, Trooper has always been by my side to do what was asked of him. Often he didn’t need to be told what to do, he just did it anyway. He’s impressed so many people with his discipline and focus.

Trooper helps Damian stay physically active and is trained to pick up items and open doors. He can also fetch his pills and a blanket, and get help from a friend if required.

Disability and injury appear to attract so many negative connotations, so it’s inevitable that many of those affected just want to ‘get on with life’ without having to provide explanations or excuses. Trooper has been a revelation in that respect, as when wearing his Hounds for Heroes jacket, people would look at him, and not me.

With the help of Trooper, Damian is back to work in the GMP Force Crime Audit Team, raising awareness for disabled officers and the vital work Hounds for Heroes does.

My daughter once wrote ‘it’s not just about him fetching things because he also helps on the inside’. From the outset, Trooper looked out for me with thoughtfulness and consideration, and I soon learned to do the same with him. He has become a member of my family and my best mate. We have both shared a love of the outdoors and have walked many thousands of miles together over the past two years and nine months.