VOTE: Should a Worthing woman give up her dog to be with her children?

Tolyna Read with her dog, Callie. W33148P11.
Tolyna Read with her dog, Callie. W33148P11.

A DISABLED woman has been told she must choose between her children or her life-saving dog before she can move to a new home.

Tolyna Read, 27, of Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, has been told by social services her current home is not suitable if she wants her two children, who are in foster care, to visit.

Her housing association, Worthing Homes, has told her the two-bedroom ground floor flat in Tarring she has found to move into has not got enough room outside for her three-year-old assistance dog, Callie.

Tolyna said: “If I can move to a ground-floor flat I can have my children stay a night.

“Worthing Homes has said if I want to move there I would have to re-home Callie.

“But she is my life.”

She added: “I know I can’t have a normal life with my children because of my health but I could have my children over for dinner and have that sort of relationship.”

The mum-of-two has been battling physical and mental-health problems for many years and relies heavily on her dog.

Recently, she has been training Callie to help assist her around the house – with amazing success.

Tolyna said: “She gets my letters for me and has been taught to pick up my stick and get things off the floor for me.”

In fact, Tolyna believes Callie has more than once saved her life when she has had asthma attacks.

“She helps alert people when I am in trouble and several times when I have had asthma attacks she has leant on my chest and licked my face to remind me to take my inhaler as I sleep through it,” she said.

Tolyna has been living in her house for three years but social services say the two-storey property is not safe for her nine-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy, to stay in.

As she lives by herself, Worthing Homes said it would not be possible to give her a two-bedroom property unless she could find someone to swap with.

As luck would have it, she managed to find someone to swap with and despite a slightly smaller back garden it does have a fenced-in front garden.

Tolyna said she cannot understand why the two gardens would not be big enough for her dog when currently she only has a small back garden.

A Worthing Homes spokesman said: “Unfortunately the property she is hoping to move to is not suitable for her pet.

“Worthing Homes is in discussion with Tolyna Read in relation to this.”

Do you think Tolyna should give up her dog to be with her children?

Cast your vote by clicking on the poll at the top right of this story.

Alternatively, email your views to letters@worthingherald.co.uk