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Sarah Stirk joins Dogs for Good team

Dogs for the Disabled - Wed, 2017-06-28 09:20


Dogs for Good is delighted to welcome Sky Golf Presenter Sarah Stirk as a new celebrity ambassador.

Inspired by her own love of dogs and a pet Labrador called Mia, Sarah wanted to help Dogs for Good, a charity making life-changing differences to people with disabilities, after several stories about the charity’s work were featured in The Times 2016 Christmas Appeal. Sarah explained: “It was incredibly inspiring to read how through a special bond with a dog, people who are facing enormous challenges in their day to day lives were now more independent and able to do things that had previously seemed to be impossible.  I am really looking forward to being able to offer my support in the future.”

Sarah recently visited the charity’s national training centre in Banbury and was able to meet two of the charity’s newest puppies, Shelagh and Star.  It will take nearly two years and many hours of care and support from volunteer puppy socialisers, together with specialist training from Dogs for Good staff, before these young pups are ready to become highly trained assistance dogs and community dogs able to transform the lives of children and adults with disabilities.

Lucy Vincent, director of marketing for the charity said: “We’re thrilled that Sarah’s going to lend her support by being an ambassador for Dogs for Good. We help people with a wide range of conditions and disabilities including autism, physical disabilities and learning disabilities and our dogs make a real difference helping to increase independence, improve self confidence and reduce social isolation, but sadly we can’t help everyone who needs us.  Support like Sarah’s is vital in helping more people to know about what we do and lending further support.”

Sarah will be helping with a number of events in the future including fundraising campaigns and with the charity’s 30th Anniversary  celebrations in 2018.

The post Sarah Stirk joins Dogs for Good team appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

RCN’s guidelines on dogs visiting hospitals welcomed

Dogs for the Disabled - Wed, 2017-06-21 15:11

Dogs for Good has welcomed the news today that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is working to produce national guidelines to allow more animals to visit hospitals. 

The RCN commenced its work after it found that there were scores of anecdotes around the benefits that animals can bring to help outcomes around healthcare, something that Dogs for Good recognises through the charity’s work training assistance dogs and therapy dogs.

Peter Gorbing, chief executive of Dogs for Good said: “The benefits of owning a pet are well documented, but as a wider society, we often fail to appreciate the impact that animals make to our lives.  A recent study by the University of Lincoln and Dogs for Good estimated that pet ownership could be saving the NHS an estimated £2.45bn a year – primarily the result of fewer visits to the doctor and improved mental wellbeing.  If we consider how we could use dogs and other animals therapeutically to help people the benefits could be even wider.”

Dogs for Good’s community dogs and specially trained handlers work alongside health and educational professionals to offer a range of therapeutic support and activities to help people with a wide variety of conditions including autism, learning difficulties, dementia and people with brain and spinal injuries.  Peter Gorbing explained: “We have seen some significant benefits through our animal assisted intervention work and in a broad range of environments including hospitals, social care and special educational needs schools. This included one group of teenagers with learning difficulties who were helped to receive annual vaccinations as a result of a programme activity with the school’s community dog.  In another project, Dogs for Good has commenced a pilot with Stoke Mandeville hospital to explore the benefits of a specially-trained dog and specialist handler working alongside the occupational therapy team to help patients with spinal injuries in their rehabilitation.

“We hope that these nationwide guidelines will help to provide a framework for healthcare settings to follow, allowing more patients to benefit from therapeutic sessions with animals.  Many hospitals assume that dogs and other animals pose a hygiene or health risk so have adopted a blanket ban on welcoming animals, but this work could help to dispel any myths and address concerns so that staff, patients and animals can have appropriate protection.”

Dogs for Good is a founder member of Animal Assisted Intervention International (AAII) and has been instrumental in developing global standards for Animal Assisted Intervention, as such we would be keen to contribute this learning and our own experience to the work the RCN is doing.

Find out more about animals in hospitals.

The post RCN’s guidelines on dogs visiting hospitals welcomed appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Help your dog make the most of a day in the office

Dogs for the Disabled - Wed, 2017-06-21 14:15

A growing number of businesses are seeing the benefits to employees bringing their dogs to work.  This year’s ‘Bring your dog to work’ day looks to be more popular than ever, charity Dogs for Good has produced its top tips for a happy dog in the office.

Director of Training, Helen McCain says that while the stress-relieving benefits of having a dog in the office are well-documented for people, pet dogs who are unfamiliar with an office environment may find it difficult to cope with. “Just like us, dogs learn through experience, so an office can be quite an alien place for a dog to visit.  Meeting lots of different people, lots of different smells and sounds and no familiar and comfortable places can make being in the office particularly hard, especially if they’re not doing it on a regular basis.”

Helen explains that the key is in knowing what your dog enjoys, planning your day in advance and keeping a close eye on your dog will help you both get the most out of your day.  “Taking your dog to work should be a positive experience for both of you, being prepared and giving you and your dog some extra time to get settled will pay off to ensuring your dog stays relaxed and happy.  Making time for a walk when you get to work, giving your dog some treats and toys to provide mental stimulation and a quiet area not far from you will all help your dog to settle more quickly.”

Dogs for Good has published its Top Five Tips for taking your four-legged friend into the office and says the key thing to remember is that the aim is for both of you to enjoy having time together, dogs also enjoy the time that they spend with us.  Helen McCain explains: “With the right support, dogs can get great benefits from time in the office too, helping to reduce separation anxiety, provide good mental stimulation and regular walks – things that aren’t always possible if a dog is left at home.”

“In fact, in the future, it would be great to see companies considering allowing dogs to play a greater part in office life, and not just once a year.”

The post Help your dog make the most of a day in the office appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Innovative Dementia Dog Project given significant boost

Dogs for the Disabled - Mon, 2017-06-19 13:36

Dogs for Good has received a significant boost for the Dementia Dog Project that the charity runs in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, thanks to a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

The grant, of £314,022, will allow the charity partners to take their learnings beyond an individual assistance dog approach, to support people with dementia in community settings.

Photo credit: Clark James Digital

The funding will enable Dogs for Good and Alzheimer Scotland to pilot a series of ‘Dog Day’ community events and goal-oriented therapy intervention pilots in Scotland and trial areas in England, using trained dogs.  The therapy, known as Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) is a well-established practice in many parts of the world, but is less advanced in the UK.  Specialist handlers and trained activity and therapy dogs work alongside support workers and health care professionals to help people facing daily challenges, in this case for people living with dementia.

More than 500 people living with dementia will directly benefit from these initial trials, with evaluation measuring wellbeing and economic benefits for both the people with dementia and their carers.

Community Dogs, supplied by Dogs for Good, will undergo their advance training at HMP Castle Huntly, an open prison near Dundee and the operational base for the Dementia Dog Project.  Here, working with the Scottish Prison Service and Paws for Progress CIC, this innovative partnership enables men in custody to gain valuable employability skills and improve their overall well-being, while also helping to provide highly trained dogs to help people living with dementia.

In the community, pools of volunteer handlers and their pet dogs will also be recruited and trained in trial areas, to help establish new training standards and test the viability of delivery mechanisms on a larger future scale.

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said: “This pilot project from Dogs for Good is an excellent example of how National Lottery funding can help groups test out new ideas or approaches. There is evidence which shows that dementia assistance dogs can help people with dementia and their families live more fulfilling, independent lives. So we are delighted to be able to fund some of this work in Scotland and I look forward to hearing more about the development of this pilot over the coming months as it plans to expand into England too.”

Peter Gorbing, chief executive of Dogs for Good said: “This grant will allow the Dementia Dog Project team to test and pioneer new approaches to reduce social isolation and bring joy and meaning into the lives of people with dementia. Through our work training dementia assistance dogs we have seen the positive contribution that dogs can make to people’s lives.  This boost in funding for the Dementia Dog project will help us to reach even more people living with dementia in the community.”

Find out more about the Dementia Dog Project.

The post Innovative Dementia Dog Project given significant boost appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Four-legged friends set to help children with autism through workshops at Humble by Nature

Dogs for the Disabled - Wed, 2017-06-07 15:40

Charity Dogs for Good has hosted a specialist workshop for families with a child with autism at Humble by Nature, the working farm of broadcaster Kate Humble based near Monmouth.

Over 800 families have attended Dogs for Good’s Family Dog workshops to date and discovered how to un-tap the potential of a pet dog, but this is the first time that the workshops will be held in Monmouthshire.

Broadcaster and dog lover, Kate Humble who owns Humble by Nature said: “The Dogs for Good workshops are a brilliant resource for parents of autistic children and I’m delighted that we’re able to help even more families take part.”

Research has shown that a pet dog can provide really life-changing support to help families with a child with autism, helping to reduce parental stress; help families go out more together and children with a pet dog experienced fewer meltdowns.  Dogs for Good’s Family Dog workshops also help families to understand and care for the dog’s needs ensuring that everyone benefits from the relationship.

Family Dog manager, Duncan Edwards explains: “Parents are able to get advice on choosing the right dog for their family, get training advice and support and learn how a dog can provide help and support for a child with autism – everything from helping to reduce a stressful bedtime routine to acting as a motivator to a child who is anxious about leaving the house.”

Parent Liz Bull attended the workshops two years ago to see how their Labrador might help her son Jacob, who has autism: “I remember at the first workshop, I just couldn’t believe it when the instructors went through what they could teach us and how it might help Jacob.  I just sat there and cried. I was thinking ‘this could be life-changing, it’s just amazing.’ It was also brilliant to meet and talk to other parents of children with autism.  I remember thinking ‘We’re all in this together, our struggles are real and these people really understand. We are not alone.’”

Duncan Edwards said: “We’re hugely grateful to the team at Humble by Nature for helping us provide an additional set of workshops this year. We know that incredible things can happen when we bring people and dogs together and our Family Dog workshops are such a good illustration of what can be achieved.”

Find out more about our Dogs for Good’s Family Dog workshops. 

The post Four-legged friends set to help children with autism through workshops at Humble by Nature appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Calling All Families and Dog Lovers… a fun-filled, free day out!

Dogs for the Disabled - Wed, 2017-05-31 12:11

Join Dogs for Good at the charity’s Fun Day, 11am-3pm on Saturday 17th June at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire (Satnav CV8 2LG), a unique event with something for everyone – even the dog, with this unique celebration of the extraordinary things that happen when you bring people and dogs together.  Entry is free, with a suggested donation of £3.00 for parking.


Attractions include a fun dog show open to all pet dogs, ‘have a go’ agility, dedicated kids zone with fun crafts and circus skills workshops, falconry display, sports zone, flyball and West Midlands Police Dog Demo Team.  Plus visitors will be able to see the charity’s own demonstration team in action and join in the Dogs for Good dog handling workshops including Good Citizen awards and ‘have a go’ tricks you can teach your dog in a day.

Dogs for Good’s Fun Day offers a great opportunity to enjoy an action-packed family day out, as well as to discover more about this inspirational charity and meet assistance dogs, puppies, volunteers and staff. (Well behaved pet dogs on leads, please.)

Come and talk to people with an assistance dog and hear about the amazing work of the Banbury-based charity’s dogs and how they transform lives.  All donations raised on the day will help Dogs for Good continue its life-transforming work helping people with disabilities.

There will be a range of food and refreshments available to purchase, and plenty of space to enjoy a picnic plus lot of exhibitors and a craft area to enjoy.


The post Calling All Families and Dog Lovers… a fun-filled, free day out! appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Exciting new collaboration unveiled with the Scottish Prison Service and Paws for Progress

Dogs for the Disabled - Tue, 2017-05-30 11:48

Today at HMP Castle Huntly, together with partners the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and Paws for Progress CIC, we are excited to jointly launch Scotland’s first prison-based assistance dog training programme as part of Dogs for Good’s collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland in the Dementia Dog project.

Through this innovative collaboration, Paws for Progress, aided by their fantastic trained rescue ‘Ambassadogs’, will offer an introductory dog training and care programme for men in custody.

Upon completion of the introductory course, participating students have the opportunity to advance their dog knowledge and handling skills through a variety of ways, including working with the Dementia Dog Project on site to help equip dogs with the skills they need to help somebody living with dementia.

Peter Gorbing, CEO of Dogs for Good can see the far reaching benefits,”This really demonstrates positive social outcomes, both for students at HMP Castle Huntly and people in the community who will benefit from the dementia assistance dogs.”

This pioneering partnership will help boost our training capacity to provide dementia assistance dogs, while also contributing towards the positive rehabilitation of participating students, helping improve communication, team work and emotional management.

Rebecca Leonardi, Director and Founder from Paws for Progress explains, “This inspiring project represents a true win-win-win situation, unleashing the potential of returning citizens to contribute positively to society.”

In partnership with the University of Stirling, Paws for Progress will continue to monitor the rehabilitative outcomes for students in custodial care as the partnership develops over the next few years.

This marks an exciting milestone for the Dementia Dog Project, who will work on site as we embark on our next phase of the project to train and place a further eight dementia assistance dogs in Scotland, thanks to funding from the Life Changes Trust.

Henry Simmons, CEO of Alzheimer Scotland adds,” Its a wonderful example of collaborative working to develop different types of support for people living with dementia.  As the numbers of people developing dementia in Scotland increases there is a clear and urgent need for creative and innovative solutions.”

The post Exciting new collaboration unveiled with the Scottish Prison Service and Paws for Progress appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Urgent Appeal: Help find missing Assistance Dog in West Yorkshire

Dogs for the Disabled - Fri, 2017-05-19 12:46

Dogs for Good is desperate to hear from anyone with information about an assistance dog that went missing in the Elland Bridge and Brighouse area of West Yorkshire on Wednesday evening.

Velvet, a 7 year old female black Labrador, is partnered with a 15 year old girl, Lottie Wilcocks, who lives locally.  Velvet has been specially trained as an assistance dog by charity Dogs for Good to help Lottie, who has spina bifada and is a talented wheelchair athlete and aspiring Paralympian. Lottie and Velvet have an incredibly special bond and Velvet means the world to the whole family. In 2014, the pair reached the finals of the Crufts Friends for Life competition which celebrates dogs that make a life-changing difference.

A campaign to #FindVelvet has been launched by Dogs for Good on social media urging people to share Velvet’s image far and wide and try to get her home to Lottie. The assistance dog went missing on Wednesday evening when Velvet was out enjoying an evening walk by the canal between Elland Bridge and Brighouse. Family and friends have searched continuously since she went missing and are desperate to reunite Velvet with Lottie.

Staff at Dogs for Good are supporting Lottie and her family in the search to find Velvet, they urge anyone with information to call Dogs for Good’s switchboard on 01295 252600.

The post Urgent Appeal: Help find missing Assistance Dog in West Yorkshire appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Maria describes her Ecuador earthquake horror – pinned to the ground by a fallen fridge. Now homeless for a second time due to natural disasters, her simple plea is ‘I need help’

Shelterbox News - Wed, 2016-05-11 00:00

For Maria Bele Artiaga, a wife and mother in her 50s, the massive earthquake that ripped much of Ecuador apart on 16 April was her second brush with natural disaster. She vividly describes her narrow escapes to ShelterBox responders, there to help Ecuadorians recover and rebuild.

Categories: Charity News

ShelterBox on top of the world - intrepid Brian Jackson almost completes his unclimbed Himalayan peaks adventure – beaten back by glacier and weather

Shelterbox News - Mon, 2016-05-09 00:00

ShelterBox fundraiser Brian Jackson may have fallen just short of standing on the summit of Om Tso Go in Nepal, but he still ‘got to walk where no person has walked before and see views no person has seen before’

Categories: Charity News

Syrian Kamounia camp bombing. UK aid agency ShelterBox – ‘The most inhuman act to use women and children fleeing war as military targets’

Shelterbox News - Fri, 2016-05-06 00:00

While the UN decides whether to classify an air strike on a makeshift camp for displaced people in northern Syria as a war crime, UK agency ShelterBox condemns the targeting of families on the run from war

Categories: Charity News

Soldiers will cycle and swim to Paris for ShelterBox – without ever leaving Rutland!

Shelterbox News - Fri, 2016-04-29 00:00

Next Wednesday soldiers from 7 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps have set themselves the gruelling task of cycling and swimming the equivalent distance from their barracks to Paris - over 380 miles.

Categories: Charity News

Just two days left to win Isle of Wight Festival VIP glamping tickets. – As the outdoor festival season begins, ShelterBox urges you to ‘love your tent’

Shelterbox News - Thu, 2016-04-28 00:00

Of course ShelterBox loves tents. And so do the one million people we have helped to shelter after disaster. But now, as a summer of music festivals gets underway, we have joined a national campaign to make sure festival-goers and campers leave sites pitch perfect

Categories: Charity News

Ecuador’s shelter and water crisis – ‘The situation is much worse than we had anticipated.’ ShelterBox team sees children begging in the streets with empty water bottles, and fields suffocated by ‘black water’

Shelterbox News - Wed, 2016-04-27 00:00

There is a new urgency in the aid programme for the coastal communities of Ecuador following the massive earthquake on 16 April. Flooding had already poisoned crops around Portoviejo, and infrastructure damage has now left families without safe drinking water

Categories: Charity News

‘The magnetism that draws you back’ - A message from Nepal to ShelterBox from supporter Deborah Holden, one year after Everest’s most deadly day

Shelterbox News - Sun, 2016-04-24 00:00

While her sister Amanda decides the fate of contestants on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, ShelterBox supporter Deborah Holden has returned to the scene of her narrowest escape. It is one year on from the deadly earthquake that triggered an Everest avalanche. She says, ‘Not coming back to Nepal was never an option’.

Categories: Charity News

ShelterBox team in Ecuador traveling to quake zone to assess need. Thunderstorms, landslides, continuing tremors, impassable roads - all challenge the search for the missing

Shelterbox News - Sat, 2016-04-23 00:00

As the death toll rises and disease fears grow, UK disaster relief agency ShelterBox is talking to government officials and colleague aid agencies about how, and where, to respond most effectively to shelter needs. A team is visiting the worst affected areas.

Categories: Charity News

As liberation anniversary approaches a moving personal account of life in Dachau concentration camp is published, supporting ShelterBox

Shelterbox News - Fri, 2016-04-22 00:00

ShelterBox often sees life in the raw - after disasters, in war zones, transit camps and in the plight of refugees. Now the UK charity is set to benefit from sales of a moving personal account of life in a Nazi concentration camp in WW2. It is a remarkable read.

Categories: Charity News

UK disaster relief agency ShelterBox sends a team to Ecuador as quake death toll rises. Heavy rains and landslides hamper rescue efforts

Shelterbox News - Mon, 2016-04-18 00:00

The Ecuador government has now officially called for international aid following the country’s worst earthquake for 37 years, and Cornwall-based ShelterBox is sending in a team to work in partnership with other shelter providers. But many of the worst-affected rural communities are hard to reach, and aftershocks and landslides are a constant fear.

Categories: Charity News

‘This wasn't just a house that collapsed, it was an entire town.’ Ecuador is the latest country to suffer a major earthquake. UK agency ShelterBox has aid stored nearby in Colombia and Panama

Shelterbox News - Sun, 2016-04-17 00:00

The latest in a spate of major earthquakes worldwide struck the South American country of Ecuador last night at midnight UK time, near the northern town of Muisne. A 7.8 magnitude quake at a shallow 12 miles, it has left at least 77 people dead

Categories: Charity News

Second Japan quake in two days. UK ShelterBox teams on tsunami alert as the Pacific is rocked by frequent seismic events.

Shelterbox News - Sat, 2016-04-16 00:00

Response teams in Fiji have been put on tsunami alert as Japan was struck by a second major earthquake yesterday at 15.25 UK time. The death toll from both quakes has now risen to at least eighteen, and troops are searching for people feared trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings

Categories: Charity News

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