Kym Stretton, who has had four life-transforming support dogs, explains the incredible importance of donations left in wills to this charity. You can learn more about how to leave a donation in you will and our free will writing service here

“I was born with a hereditary condition, Vitamin D deficient rickets, which leaves me in constant pain, and I also developed early onset osteoarthritis. My life was pretty horrible, and I had not been out alone for over a year.

In 1995 I bought my first dog, a beautiful German shepherd called Zeta. She was a pet dog, and shortly after that we heard about a charity called Support Dogs.

I contacted them; we were really lucky as we got an early training slot, and she started training with me as my support dog.

It was at that time I realised what a huge impact she was going to have on my life and that of my family.

Zeta would fetch the telephone if I fell over, she helped me dress and undress and pick up any items I dropped. She came everywhere with me, and it meant I could go out alone without having to have family members with me. My life opened up. I started to go out alone and gained in confidence and my life just resumed.

At that time, my husband, who was working, constantly rang me every few hours to make sure I was OK. Once Zeta was trained, I was lucky if he phoned me one a day!

It was good because he could continue working without constantly worrying that I had fallen or that something had happened.

Zeta I was stuck at home all the time – I couldn’t go out shopping, visit friends or do anything. Once she was trained it meant I could go and do all the things I needed and wanted to do.

Zeta has now sadly passed away, but her legacy lives on through the life and the independence she gave me.

Twenty-five years on from first receiving help from the charity, I am now supported by my fourth support dog Marley.

Support Dogs are a charity that saves lives. It’s a small charity but facing huge and growing demand for its work. Not many people realise that it relies 100 per cent on voluntary donations; in fact one in four support dogs only exist thanks to money left to the charity in wills.

Quite simply, Marley would not be here now without their support. The difference these dogs make is live changing and life saving. This is why Support Dogs is in my will. I know the huge impact it has. If the time is ever right for you to remember a charity in your will, please remember Support Dogs.”