Our founder Frances Hay, disabled herself since a teenager, realises that the bond she has with her own dogs helps to ensure she is independent. This inspires her to start a charity to help other adults who live with a disability. It is called Dogs for the Disabled.
The first dogs are partnered with a number of adults with physical disabilities. The impact is clear, dogs can make a big difference to improving people’s lives and offer both practical and emotional support.
In 1990, we are devastated by the untimely death of Frances Hay. Despite the challenges, Frances’ vision has shown that there is a real need for dogs to help people with disabilities and the charity continues its work.
Peter sees that our dogs are doing so much good and making a really positive impact on people’s lives, and knows that with the right support, the charity could help so many more people.
Following a successful application to the National Lottery, Dogs for Good finally has its own training centre in Banbury. We can now truly begin to explore the many ways dogs can help people.
We become the first ever UK assistance dog organisation to provide a service for children. An assistance dog becomes a much-loved and needed best friend as well as providing a vital boost to confidence and giving practical support.
We introduce a pioneering new service: autism assistance dogs for children. The support from a specially trained autism assistance dog completely transforms family life, provides a reassuring constant friendship to a child with autism, reducing anxiety and helping to keep them safe.
Our work training autism assistance dogs clearly demonstrates that dogs make a significant impact on family life, but we recognise that an assistance dog isn’t suitable for everyone. Our Family Dog workshops provide training and guidance to parents with autistic children, enabling the whole family to benefit from the unique support of a well-trained pet dog.
We collaborate on an innovative project training assistance dogs to support people with dementia in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland. The project is now expanding with the help from a lottery grant.
For some people lifelong partnership with a dog may not always be possible. Our Community Dogs are trained to work alongside a specialist handler in settings such as schools, hospitals and in social care. Over their life-time our community dogs may help dozens of people to overcome challenges and support them to achieve goals such as overcoming anxiety, improving communication and physiotherapy using techniques known as animal assisted intervention.
To better reflect the many ways that the charity now is helping people and all the good that can happen when we bring people and dogs together, we change our name and establish a new identity – Dogs for Good.
Increasingly, there is a growing recognition of the positive contribution that well-trained dogs make to our health and wellbeing. We see it everyday and research shows that assistance dogs make significant differences to improving people’s quality of life and provide economic benefits.
We’re proud of what we’ve achieved in the last 30 years, but we know there are so many more people we can help. Demand for our services is at an all-time high. The next 5 years will see us grow our assistance dog services to help more children and adults, develop our family dog service to support more families with autistic children, through our community dog services we will help more people to overcome huge challenges in their life through the specialist support we can bring.