Our community dogs and their professional handlers are making a positive contribution in health and social care, where we are working in partnership with a number of local authorities, health providers and specialist charities.

Through structured interventions which form part of a person’s individual care plan we help adults and children with a range of individual needs to improve their independence, wellbeing and skills.

Working in the community

Using the principles and techniques of Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI), our specially-trained dogs and handlers work in conjunction with a local human services professional (eg therapist, health or social care practitioner), to promote improvements in the physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning of a person. Dogs can be great motivators and role models, supporting adults and children to learn and develop in so many ways.

The applications are wide-ranging: from improving self-confidence and helping people to access the community independently, to improving road safety, changing patterns of behaviour and overcoming fear of medical procedures.

Where the intervention is successful, it can bring benefits for the individual, their family and the local community. At the same time, this may also bring cost benefits for the partner organisation. For example, where a person becomes more independent, their need for specialist support may be less; improvements to wellbeing can mean that respite/crisis care is no longer required; and preventative action means that care needs and costs do not increase as previously expected.

Our partnership with Bracknell Forest Council

 

Dogs for Good has partnered with Bracknell Forest Council to launch a social care partnership – the first of its kind in the UK. The partnership will provide animal assisted intervention (AAI) support to both adults and children with a range of needs, such as those with physical disabilities, sensory needs or mental health conditions, as well as supporting people with a learning disability, autism or dementia. Read more about this partnership.

Working with adults with autism

We work with adults with autism in partnership with Kingwood. Find out more.

Animal assisted therapy in a mental health ward

We have been working with Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on an innovative pilot project, using Animal Assisted Therapy in a mental health ward supporting women over the age of 65. The pilot is currently on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions. You can read more about it here.

Working with adults with spinal injuries

Dogs for Good assistance dog with patients

Stoke Mandeville Dogs for Good project Therapy Dog Danny, handler Iris Smolkovic, occupational therapist Alicia Hing, patient Charlotte Simcock

Community Dog Handler Iris and community dog Danny worked with patients at the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on a pioneering new scheme to see how dogs can aid rehabilitation. Find out more about this pilot.

Working with adults with learning disabilities

We work with adults with learning disabilities in partnership with Style Acre. Find out more.

Community dog during COVID-19

Covid-19 has brought considerable strain for many individuals, families and communities. Social isolation, increased anxiety, new social norms (eg social distancing), and a change in the way support services have had to be delivered, mean that many are finding the first steps out of lockdown particularly challenging.

Over the longer term, there is a risk that if people are unable to regain their previous levels of independence, wellbeing and skills or adapt to new societal norms, this will impact on their quality of life and may result in increased care requirements.

AAI offers an innovative approach to tackling some of these issues, supporting individuals, their families and communities to move forward in a planned and positive way. Read more here about how AAI can help.

Interested in working with us?

We’re keen to talk to prospective partners who share our values and are interested in exploring the potential of Animal Assisted Intervention to help the people they support.

If you’d like to discuss potential opportunities with us, please tell us a bit more about your organisation, the people you support and your ideas, by completing this enquiry form.

Please note that the day to day operational costs of our Community Dog service are met by our partners and this forms part of our developing social enterprise activities.