Dogs for Good – Meeting Report March 2022
Arthur, the beautiful black Labrador, nearly stole the show but, luckily, he is so well behaved that Shirley and Noel were able to deliver an excellent talk on “Dogs for Good”. This national charity is relatively new to this area, so we all learnt something about the hundreds of volunteers, thousands of pounds and over 12 to 18 months required to train assistance dogs.
The charity focuses its effort in four main areas; training dogs to help adults and children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, and dementia. Started in 1986 by Frances Hay, the charity was originally called “Dogs for Disabled” but changed its name in 2015 to reflect a more positive outlook.
Wearing a yellow harness, these dogs help their owners with various tasks that make living more bearable and independent. They are trained to push buttons, pull doors, retrieve items, and raise the alarm when required. These things all help their owners live independently, reduce stress levels, increase confidence, and decrease loneliness. Social inclusion also raised as the dogs act as the perfect conversation starter with strangers.
Training dogs to work with children on the autistic spectrum started about 10 years ago. The dogs have been found to be a calming influence, as well as extremely motivating for the children and giving them the ability to cope with stressful situations. The whole family benefits from the inclusion of the dog.
Community Dogs are trained to be used for the benefit of people who are not able to own a dog themselves. Sessions with these specially trained dogs helps lower anxiety and increase confidence. Training dogs to work with people living with dementia is a relatively new direction as the charity recognises the increasing need.
It costs in the region of £23,000 to raise and train a puppy for this work so the charity is always looking for volunteers and donations. Shirley and Noel had a selection of goods available for purchase after the talk and the WI members did their best to reduce the number of items Shirley had to lift back into the car. Look out for the Dogs for Good stall at local events in the future.
After the business meeting our activity was designed as a getting to know you session for the newest members. Much hilarity resulted and we all know much more about the members sitting on our tables. Did you know that some of the WI have swum with sharks, climbed Pen-y-Fan and cut the hair of pop stars?
Our next meeting will be on 21 April at 7.30 pm at the Beambridge Inn, when we will have a talk on “Self-Massage”. Visitors are very welcome, and if you would like any more information about us, please email [email protected] or call 07773 350459.
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