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Dogs for Good makes life changing differences for people with disabilities.
Updated: 19 min 28 sec ago

Dogs for Good launches ‘Power of Dogs’ events

Thu, 2018-04-12 14:19

With 8.5 million pet dogs curling up at their owners’ feet and 24% of the country’s households owning one or more dogs, the UK’s dog-loving denizens prove, without a doubt, that canine companions hold a very special place in the nation’s hearts.

There’s nothing a dog-lover likes more than to talk about their four-legged friend, so, as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, Dogs for Good is running a series of four inspirational evening events focusing on the phenomenal Power of Dogs.

The events comprise short, powerful talks from well-known celebrities such as Brian Blessed and Peter Purves, as well as respected academics, veterinary behaviour experts, photographers, authors and Dogs for Good Chief Executive, Peter Gorbing. All events aim to provide an interesting insight, from different viewpoints, into all that canine companions bring to the lives of humans.

Dogs for Good is a UK charity that brings dogs and people together to help overcome specific challenges and enrich and improve the lives of both. The charity uses a range of different approaches, including highly trained dogs (Assistance Dog service), support to families and their companion dogs (Family Dog service) and therapeutic support using animal assisted intervention techniques (Community Dog service).

Peter Gorbing comments: “It is this special human-dog bond that opens up so many possibilities and positively influences the health and wellbeing of both people and their dogs. Although our focus is on supporting people with disabilities, our ideas and approaches to supporting dogs and people is highly relevant and applicable to the wider dog-owning public.”

A study recently carried out by the University of Lincoln, supported by Dogs for Good, found that dogs are saving the UK health sector an estimated £2.45bn a year; primarily the result of fewer visits to the doctor and improved mental wellbeing.

In a recent survey carried out by Dogs for Good dog owners were asked to comment on how their dog had contributed to their overall health and happiness. Respondents attributed their dog to helping them cope with some of life’s greatest challenges including dealing with the loss of a loved one, helping to cope with depression and anxiety and supporting people through cancer. One respondent, who had experienced levels of severe depression in their life said: “Our dog is a constant reminder that for all the sadness in the world, life really is wonderful and precious.”

The talks all run from 7pm through to 9pm and start off in Oxford on 24th May. Manchester follows on 6th June, then London on 31st October and finally, Cambridge on 15th November. Tickets cost £10 each and all proceeds will go to support Dogs for Good’s life-changing work.

Tickets are available online for Oxford and Manchester now – click here to book.

The post Dogs for Good launches ‘Power of Dogs’ events appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Dogs for Good promotes Easter fun – without chocolate!

Wed, 2018-03-28 13:52

Incr(edible) news… Easter fun is achievable without the need for chocolate! This is great news for dogs because while chocolate is a sweet treat for humans it poses a life-threatening risk to dogs.

Elly White from our Health and Welfare team says“For any dog, eating chocolate is a big no-no as they can’t digest it in the way that humans can. Toxins build up in their liver and at the very least, it can make them very, very poorly; at worst, it can be fatal.  However, there are plenty of things you can do and make this Easter to have some fun together and above all, keep your dog safe!”

Easter Carrot Hunt: Make like the Easter Bunny and swap chocolate eggs for carrots to ensure that your dog doesn’t miss out on an exciting game of hide and seek “A good run around is what dogs love most and having some healthy carrot treats to sniff out and eat will make it extra special!” says Elly. Watch our film to see our Dogs for Good mascot and Dogs for Good pals, Denby, Quill and Digby showing you exactly how much fun can be achieved on a carrot hunt!

Easter Biscuit Bakes: Dogs for Good’s very own Mary Barky (aka volunteer, Andrea) has loads of yummy dog-biscuit recipes and they couldn’t be easier to make.  Find Andrea’s recipe here.

Walk it off: If you’ve over-indulged on too many Easter treats, the best way to work off a) the sugar rush and b) the extra calories is to go on a lovely long, spring walk with your dog, friends and family.  Whether it’s the local park or you get in the car and go further afield, your dog isn’t going to complain.  Remember to take a towel to clean off any muddy paws!

The post Dogs for Good promotes Easter fun – without chocolate! appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Chris Packham highlights the importance of dogs during World Autism Awareness Week

Wed, 2018-03-28 12:45

As part of our focus on World Autism Awareness Week we were thrilled that Chris Packham today reinforced his belief in the power of the human-dog bond; tweeting his support for our innovative work.

When the world is difficult to process having a friend who offers unconditional , judgement-free love and devotion can calm even the busiest of minds. Owning dogs has brought huge benefits to my life and the work that @DogsForGoodUK does is something I’m very supportive of pic.twitter.com/NrS7cFovLU

— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) March 28, 2018

Judging by the huge number of responses, his views echo the feelings and opinions of many dog owners…

My best friend who is there for me unconditionally, helps me through my anxiety and the days when I feel I can’t go on. pic.twitter.com/hzLKMaXawk

— Emma Harnett (@EmHarnett) March 28, 2018

“SO true. I have two dogs that I adopted, and one of them is extremely therapeutic for my seven year who has sensory and behavioural issues. There’s never been a love like this”

 

“we just got our first dog, best thing we’ve done since kids. I wasn’t prepared for this much love & even though he’s only 6 months, he has helped me mentally and physically. Unconditional love without judgement”

Find out more about the different ways dogs help adults and children with autism and read first-hand accounts of how dogs have changed the lives.

 

 

The post Chris Packham highlights the importance of dogs during World Autism Awareness Week appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

1,000 families with a child with autism helped by Dogs for Good

Sun, 2018-03-25 09:00

Today marks the start of World Autism Awareness Week which runs until 2nd April 2018. Over the course of this week, Dogs for Good is celebrating a truly amazing achievement; helping over 1000 families with a child with autism spectrum condition, through its Family Dog workshops.

Launched in 2010, the workshops were developed to help share the charity’s extensive knowledge and expertise of training dogs to help families with a child with an autism diagnosis.

The workshops provide training and guidance to parents, giving them the information and confidence they need to successfully source, select, handle and train a pet dog specifically to respond to the needs of a child with autism, and thereby enabling the whole family to benefit from the unique support a well-trained dog can bring.

Autism affects some 700,000 people in the UK and, if you add other family members into the equation, the condition touches the lives of an estimated 2.8 million people.

Research has shown that the families Dogs for Good have worked with have seen lowered parental stress, go out more together, and children on the autism spectrum experience fewer meltdowns as a result of their pet dog. Read more about the research project findings.

Sally is mum to Damien and says: “During the three workshops, I learned so much; more than I’d ever thought possible, really. Everything the training team said made perfect sense and I came away from the first workshop really excited and with far more knowledge about how a dog can benefit a child with autism as well as the wider family.

“We worked with the workshop demonstration dogs, Fidget and Siren to try out our training learnings and on the second or third session, a Dogs for Good client brought in her assistance dog so we could see exactly what benefit her dog was to her. It was an invaluable experience.” Read Sally’s story.

Workshops are now open for parents/carers to book a place. View workshop dates and locations.

The post 1,000 families with a child with autism helped by Dogs for Good appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Innovative partnership between Dogs for Good and Bracknell Forest showcased at Crufts

Mon, 2018-03-12 12:46

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.”

Find out more about the last 30 years of Dogs for Good.

The post Innovative partnership between Dogs for Good and Bracknell Forest showcased at Crufts appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

Channel Four showcases Dogs for Good Dementia Dog project

Thu, 2018-03-08 13:12

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.

Categories: Charity News

Celebrating 30 years of life changing devotion

Fri, 2018-01-19 15:35

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.

Find out more about the last 30 years of Dogs for Good.

The post Celebrating 30 years of life changing devotion appeared first on Dogs for Good.

Categories: Charity News

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