Wheelchair tennis star agrees sponsorship deal with Pets Corner
Wheelchair tennis star and Paralympic hopeful Lauren Jones has agreed a sponsorship deal with Pets Corner.
The family run business and ethical pet retailer has pledged to provide Lauren’s assistance dog in training, Koda, with food for the next five years.
Twenty-year-old Lauren, who was paralysed from the waist down after an accident in 2009, only started playing wheelchair tennis just over four years ago after picking up a racket during her rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Since then Lauren’s talent and determination have shone through and she has risen quickly through the ranks achieving number 1 in the world junior players and World Junior Champion in 2013, and peaking at 25th in the world’s women in 2014.
Following an injury, Lauren was forced to take an 18 month break from the sport and was only declared fit to return to the tennis circuit in April. During her recovery period Lauren made the decision to find a puppy that could eventually accompany her on tours and assist with a number of tasks that she is unable to carry out alone.
After searching for the ideal doggy companion, Lauren found Koda – a Malamute Rottweiler crossbreed. Working with training and behaviour specialists, Doodley Dogs in Storrington, West Sussex, Lauren and Koda have spent the last six months preparing for a life travelling the world together as Lauren aims to conquer a non-stop schedule of tennis tournaments and fulfil her dream of qualifying for Rio in 2016.
Commenting on their respective journeys to the Paralympics, Lauren said: “It’s great to be sharing this amazing journey with Koda as we work towards achieving GB team status for the 2016 Paralympics.
"Koda is the first assistance dog on the circuit so she is certainly a unique addition to the sport. She still has six months more of training to complete before she can claim to be a fully-fledged assistance dog, however she has already learnt so much and is on schedule to complete her training by February.
"Pets Corner’s sponsorship is a very welcome contribution. Their help means that Koda will be able to support me while I focus every effort on improving my game and getting to the top.”
Dean Richmond, Managing Director at Pets Corner, added:c“Lauren is an inspirational young lady with an outstanding amount of determination and talent.
"We are absolutely delighted to be supporting her and her gorgeous dog, Koda. Working with home-grown stars of the future like Lauren and Koda is a perfect reflection of our passion for backing British wherever possible, and our belief that businesses have a responsibility to communities. We wish Lauren and Koda lots of luck for the future.”
To find out more and to follow Lauren and Koda on their path to the Paralympics visit www.petscorner.co.uk/sponsorship