Late last year we took part in an exciting pilot project with Dogs for the Disabled. The aim of the pilot was to look at whether it was possible to use train dogs in the community to help a range of people. We helped provide a family of a child with an acquired brain injury to take part in the pilot. So Ben (7) and his family were visited once a week for 8 weeks by Lana the dog and her handler.
During the pilot phase, Ben and Lana carried out Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) – these are activities that can be repeated with different people, unlike a therapy programme (Animal Assisted Therapy – AAT) that is tailored to a particular person or medical condition.
The main aim was to try and use the sessions with Lana to develop a better level of danger awareness for Ben, concentrating on safely crossing roads. The results so far have been very promising, with Ben now having a much improved awareness of danger around roads and traffic. Ben and his family also really enjoyed being involved in the project.
Dogs for the Disabled are currently reviewing the outcomes of the project. We hope that in the future we will be able to work with them to offer this service to more children around the UK. Watch this space for more information in the future!
Photos of Ben and Lana the dog during the pilot project.