Dogs? Yes, they can be man’s (and woman’s) best friend. At their recent regional meeting Soroptimists in South Lancashire discovered a whole new way in which trained dogs make life-changing differences to people’s health and wellbeing.
Anna Prosser, a volunteer ambassador with Dogs for Good explained how the charity trains animals to work with people with disabilities.
An assistance dog can enable an adult or child to enjoy greater independence with everyday, practical tasks. Think of opening and closing doors, retrieving items, pressing a pedestrian crossing button – what a difference that help can make.
Specialist autism assistance dogs transform the lives of families affected by autism. They help a child remain calm and focused in busy places.
There are community dogs who – with their handlers – work with teachers and therapists in special schools. Other community dogs work in health and social care settings. Some aid people with dementia and their carers.
The charity trains and places about 50 dogs each year. The dogs are then supported throughout their working life. ‘Life-changing devotion’ from new ‘best friends’.