It’s undeniable that there’s something special about dogs. Most dog owners would tell you that their pets are an integral part of their family, with a desire to please their human owners and a strong personality. The Dementia Dog Project seeks to use loyal, loving and smart dogs to help people living with dementia manage everyday tasks and keep them comfortable and safe.
Learn more about this innovative program and how canines are being used to help people with dementia.
Canines for Dementia: Therapy Dogs Train for a New Role
Therapy dogs have been used for years to help humans with varying kinds of disabilities. From seeing eye dogs who aid humans with poor site to dogs that help returning veterans manage post-traumatic stress, dogs have proved themselves to be crucial in treating and managing a wide variety of conditions.
The Dementia Dog Project is a charity in Scotland that was founded in 2012 and seeks to pair trained dogs with people who have dementia.
The charity “aims to prove that dogs can help people with dementia maintain their waking, sleeping and eating routine, remind them to take medication, improve confidence, keep them active and engaged with their local community, as well as providing a constant companion who will reassure them when facing new and unfamiliar situations.”
The charity began as a collaboration between the Dogs for the Disabled, the Glasgow School of Art and Guide Dogs UK. The charity started a pilot program in 2013 matching and training four dogs to families caring for someone with dementia. The project tracks the progress of the dogs and family after placement, ensuring that the dogs are happy in their role and the family is benefiting from their extensive training.
The organization currently has two canine siblings seeking a home. Labradors Webb and Willow have completed two years of training with the help of prison inmates who are preparing for their life outside prison walls.
Dementia Dog Project Manager Fiona Corner, said that they are excited to place Webb and Willow in a nearby home.
“These dogs have come through two years of training to help someone who is diagnosed with dementia. They are now at the point where they have completed all their tasks and we are looking for a special home for them in Dundee or the surrounding area.The kind of people we are looking to register interest for these dogs would ideally be a couple who are still living at home, where one person may have recently received a diagnosis of dementia or still be in the early stages of dementia and are living full-time with their carer, have a fenced garden and love dogs.”