The blind receive help from Seeing Eye dogs, the deaf get help from hearing ear dogs and the tastebudless get help from tasting tongue dogs. Now a new initiative is helping one of the forgotten disabilities: an inability to punctuate and general bad grammar.
A new charity, Aiding Dogs for Atrocious Grammar in England (ADAGE), has been set up to train King Charles Spaniels to help those that cannot help themselves.
"We chose the King Charles Spaniel for two reasons," said Charity founder, Alan Station. "First off, it was an ironic choice, as they should be called the King Charles's Spaniel. Secondly, it turns out that this particular breed is better at English grammar than eighty percent of the British population."
All of the dogs receive a three week training course to bring their grammar up to scratch, before being sent to work with tabloid journalists and internet forum posters.
"We did send a few dogs to work with texting teenagers," said Station. "Unfortunately, to a dog, they hung themselves by their walkies lead rather than watch the butchery of the English language anymore."
The dogs are capable of putting apostrophes in the right place, point out a misuse of their, there and they're, as well as indicating basic grammar flaws such as splitting infinitives.
"When they see an error," said Station, "they give a little yelp. If it's a major problem, they bark like mad."
There is still some way to go before the dogs are perfect, as Station knows only too well.
"For more advanced grammar, such as using fewer instead of less, and most cases of word substitution," he said, "the dogs struggle. For this reason, we can only sell them as a guide dog, not as an expert dog. We're checking all breeds to find a breed more suited to more areas of grammar. We are even considering attempting to breed a better grammar dog. We tried crossing a Rottweiler with a King Charles. That was quite successful, in its own way. Even if it was wrong, you didn't dare disagree with it. We didn't take it any further, because it wanted umlauts over most letters."