A ground-breaking partnership between Dogs for Good and Bracknell Forest Council was showcased at Crufts as part of the charity’s milestone year celebrating 30 years of transforming the lives of adults and children with disabilities.
In addition to assistance dog partnerships, Dogs for Good has led the way in developing how dogs can help people with additional needs. In order to help more people and recognising that not everyone is able to benefit from the help of a dog 24:7, the charity now provides Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) dogs that work with specialist handlers in settings such as hospitals, schools and social care settings. Through this work, Dogs for Good supports people with a wide range of conditions including learning disabilities, dementia, physical disabilities and autism.
Bracknell Forest Council partnered with the charity in 2017 with the aim of providing intervention sessions with a specially trained dog for people with learning disabilities or autism.
Cllr Dale Birch, executive member for adult services, health and housing at Bracknell Forest Council said “By working with Dogs for Good, we have been able to transform the lives of people with learning disabilities or autism, enabling them to independently carry out tasks they were unable to do before, such as crossing a road by themselves, using public transport or socialising in group environments.”
“It is fascinating to hear how the specialist team have enabled some of our most vulnerable people to learn new or adapted behaviours with a little help from man’s best friend. I am looking forward to seeing the project progress to allow us to support more people to get the best out of life.”
The post Innovative partnership between Dogs for Good and Bracknell Forest showcased at Crufts appeared first on Dogs for Good.
The extraordinary and unique Dementia Dog project – a collaboration between Dogs for Good and Alzheimer Scotland – is to be featured as part of this year’s Channel Four Crufts TV coverage.
The project demonstrates how specially trained dogs have the power to change people’s lives for the better and the film Channel Four has compiled will go to air on Friday 9th March at 20.15 hrs on Channel Four.
The film interviews Imke and Malcolm who have been partnered with dementia assistance dog, Webb, since November 2017. Webb is trained to fetch medicine packs, respond to alarms and works on a dual lead which affords both Imke and Malcolm the ability to take Webb for a walk together and thus the confidence to get out and about in their community.
Funded through the National Lottery, the Dementia Dog project runs from Scottish Prison Service (SPS) Castle Huntley near Dundee and will see eight dementia assistance dogs trained to support the needs of couples where one person has early stage dementia.
What makes this project particularly special is how Webb was trained. Although he was socialised and commenced his early training at Dogs for Good’s national training centre in Banbury, he was one of three dogs initially selected to be travel to Scotland to be trained as a dementia assistance dog. His training then was transferred to a Dogs for Good instructor, who works with students from SPS Castle Huntly, where he learnt the specific skills to support someone with dementia.
SPS Castle Huntly is an open prison and prisoners coming to the end of their sentence can choose to learn about dog welfare and training which then helps them develop life-skills and achieve qualifications as part of their rehabilitation in preparation for their return into the community.
The Dementia Dog project will run until autumn 2019 and Dogs for Good Chief Executive, Peter Gorbing says:
“I never fail to be amazed by how dogs can make life-changing differences to people with physical disabilities and the dementia assistance dogs we train are just as extraordinary. A dementia diagnosis is devastating for individuals, their partners and family members, and I’ve spoken to clients who have said that the arrival of an assistance dog in their lives brought them and their loved ones back together, creating happy memories and helping them deal positively with all the challenges they face.”
Find out more about the Dementia Dog project
The post Channel Four showcases Dogs for Good Dementia Dog project appeared first on Dogs for Good.
2018 is a milestone year for Oxfordshire-based Dogs for Good as the charity proudly celebrates its 30th anniversary. Over the years the work it carries out has transformed the lives of thousands of adults and children with disabilities.
Since 1988, Dogs for Good has created no less than 875 assistance dog partnerships, run many hundreds of family dog workshops, worked with schools and hospitals in the community and been involved in many special projects.
In addition to assistance dog partnerships, Dogs for Good has led the way in developing how dogs can help people with additional needs. In 2004, the charity introduced the first assistance dogs for children to the UK, the first dogs being trained to support children with physical disabilities and shortly afterwards they developed their service for children with autism. Most recently, Dogs for Good has worked in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland to train dementia assistance dogs.
In order to help more people and recognising that not everyone is able to benefit from the help of a dog 24:7, the charity now trains activity and therapy dogs to work with specialist handlers in settings such as hospitals, schools and social care settings. Through this work, Dogs for Good supports people with a wide range of conditions including learning disabilities, dementia, physical disabilities and autism.
Through Family Dog workshops the charity is able to provide advice and support to help families with a child with autism get the most out of their relationship with their pet dog.
Dogs for Good (formerly Dogs for the Disabled) was the brainchild of founder, Frances Hay, herself disabled and a lifelong animal lover and dog owner. She recognised that the strong bond she enjoyed with her own dogs helped in many ways to maintain her independence and also, that her dog was able to carry out small but vitally important tasks for her such as picking up dropped items and helping to steady her while walking and balance her getting up from a seated position.
This realisation, knowledge and vision inspired Frances to start the charity in 1988, work began in earnest and one year later, a number of physically disabled adults were partnered with dogs. The impact of these partnerships was immediately clear – dogs can make a big difference to improving people’s lives and offer both practical and emotional support.
Dogs for Good client, Ann, is partnered with assistance dog, Twickers and explains: “I’d loved my pet dogs in the past but the bond you get with these dogs is something else. Your self-worth is elevated because you have to care for another life; grooming, walking, feeding, rather than being the one that receives care. Having the dog doesn’t just give me confidence, it gives my husband and daughters confidence, too, because they know I’m not ever on my own. Before, I was just a lady in a wheelchair. Now, I’m Ann with the lovely, clever, amazing dog and my disability fades into the background.”
Dogs for Good Chief Executive, Peter Gorbing says: “Looking ahead to the next 30 years, we intend to share our knowledge and experience with more people as well as providing services directly to those that desperately need it. We’ll use digital and online technologies to support the work and will continue to innovate, share best practice and collaborate with others.”
Dogs for Good is always keen to welcome new recruits who are able to volunteer their time and energy to help create more life-changing partnerships and further the work it carries out. There are many ways to get involved from caring for a puppy or dog or joining a local supporters group.
Forty Oxfordshire families with children with an autism diagnosis are set to benefit from a generous £60,000 grant from the Oxfordshire Freemasons. They are part of 150 children with autism who will benefit nationwide.
The grant, awarded to Dogs for Good, will be used over the course of three years and will go directly into the PAWS Family Dog workshops run by the charity. The workshops give advice and support to help families with a child with autism get the most out of their relationship with their family dog.
The series of three, one-day workshops use a combination of practical demonstrations, discussions, hands-on learning and course hand-outs to demonstrate the significant positive effect a well-trained dog can have on the behaviour and development of autistic children.
Oxford-based Alison Pearce, whose daughter has benefitted from the service said: “At the first workshop, I was amazed by the many ways in which a pet dog could be trained to help an autistic child and how this would benefit my daughter. I sat there thinking ‘this could be life-changing.’ It was also beneficial to meet and talk to other parents of children with autism. I remember thinking ‘I’m not alone, these people really understand.’
“The help from Dogs for Good doesn’t just end after the course. We have continuing support and advice from the Dogs for Good team, and the help my daughter receives from her dog continues to increase.”
The grant from Oxfordshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Andrew Keech from Oxfordshire Freemasons said: “I’m very pleased we’re able to help Dogs for Good who do such wonderful work with autistic children and their families. Thanks to them, many hundreds of people have seen a huge improvement in their quality of life.”
The post Children with Autism and Dogs for Good benefit from £60,000 grant from Oxfordshire Freemasons appeared first on Dogs for Good.