Paws For Support is a unique charity dedicated to using highly trained dogs to improve people’s lives in the bailiwick of Guernsey.
These dogs will be used in a wide variety of situations from schools and young people, to visiting the elderly in care homes. The dogs help bring happiness to people’s lives, assist in teaching respect, kindness, love, responsibility, friendship and trust. This is achieved by using our Paws for Support dogs as educational and therapeutic aids and assistance.
Visiting dogs (social visits, school visits and homes for the elderly) – Will spend a few hours visiting environments for specific roles – very much like the social visits that happen now e.g. reward dogs – reward for behaviour; reading to dogs – encourage reluctant readers; displays – educational purposes (bite prevention); snuggling (comfort and stroking sessions for anxiety, depression, ADHD etc); individual intervention programs to teach empathy, responsibility etc.
Individual ‘school’ therapy dogs – work on a one to one basis with a student, who is the main trainer and handler with key members of staff supporting. This support will be specific to the young person but may include helping with anxiety, depression, anger, those at risk and social deprivation. Including disorders like ADHD, Autism.
School therapy dogs – will eventually work full-time in the school environment performing many beneficial tasks. These dogs work in various roles i.e. enhancing learning and focus levels; promoting quiet, calm, kindness; providing positive greetings; helping with relationship building; opening communication channels; supporting students with high anxiety cope with situations; they are mechanisms to teach behaviour control and reasoning; give students a chance to take control in a positive manner; including all visiting dog tasks etc.
Assistance dogs – Once certified, each PFS dog will have been trained and assessed to be able to offer a number of specifically designed roles for people with a recognised disability in order to minimise or mitigate a person’s disability (at least 3 assistance tasks per dog).
Schools ‘Reading To Dogs’ Scheme
Our ‘Reading To Dogs’ scheme began in 2019 and it allows children to improve their literacy skills – specifically reading.
The children build confidence by reading aloud to the dogs, the children recognise that the dogs are non judgemental and will enjoy being talked to no matter their reading abilities. The children tend to be calmer and have lower anxiety as stroking a dog is known to release feel good hormones and just the presence of a calm dog can improve their mood.
Alongside this the children feel more confident and more likely to persevere, creating resilience and higher self esteem.
Currently we have 10 dogs visit various schools to listen to children read.
Therapy Dogs in Nursing Homes
Therapy dogs in nursing and residential homes can be used to brighten the day of many residents as well as the staff. Many of our therapy dogs regularly make these visits which are empowering peoples lives simply with their presence or a stroke.
- It relieves stress and anxiety
- It helps to lower blood pressure levels
- They increase the mental and physical activity of the residents
- Improves self esteem
- A stroke from one of the dogs lets them open up and reminisce
- Therapy dogs have no public access rights so are not allowed into an establishment unless they have prior acceptance
Therapy Dog Office Visits
With the current climate of stress affecting peoples mental health and wellbeing, we believe our charity with the help of our Therapy Dogs, working across the broad range of the community in the Bailiwick, to help improve everyones sense of self.
Therapy Dogs help promote calm, release endorphins and overall empower people.
Within the office workspace therapy dogs help to boost moral, improve mental health and wellbeing and lower stress levels which helps to increase productivity and create a more positive atmosphere.