A project which trains dogs to help families coping with dementia is hoping to find homes for two of its star pupils.
The Dementia Dog Project run by Alzheimer Scotland and Dogs for Good trains dogs to help with a range of specialist tasks, from retrieving medication to helping wake someone up to get dressed and can help with getting out and about in the local community.
Now, after two years of intensive training, dynamic Labrador duo Lenny and Hope have the skills to help enhance the quality of life for people living with early-stage dementia.
A drop-in session in Kirkcaldy on Monday will allow prospective candidates to meet the dogs and discuss the possibility of using their services.
Project Manager Fiona Corner said: “It is wonderful to see the incredible impact these dogs can have for the people they go on to live with and support. We are now keen to hear from couples and families who would like to apply for one of these specially trained dogs.
“We are welcoming enquiries from people living throughout central Scotland. We are looking for people who are in the early stages of dementia and living at home with a full-time carer, have a fenced garden and love dogs. You don’t need to have previously owned a dog in order to apply. These highly trained dogs are provided free of charge, with support and training provided through the Dementia Dog Project.”
Six months ago, Malcolm and his wife and full-time carer, Imke, received assistance dog Webb.
Imke said: “Webb helps in all sorts of practical ways – fetching medication, taking off Malcolm’s socks, finding and opening doors and getting us out of the house together.
“Webb introduces laughter back into the home; in turn Malcolm benefits by Webb giving me the strength to cope.
“The wonderful people from Alzheimer Scotland have also come into our lives to offer technical support and assistance in accessing practical help.”
Henry Simmons, chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, added: “There are few families in Scotland who are not living with dementia. We need new and innovative approaches to supporting them.
“The Dementia Dogs project is a fantastic example of collaborative and pioneering working to develop different types of support for people living with dementia and we have been thrilled to take this forward.
“Over the past five years, the project has had a wonderful impact for a number of families and we are looking forward to seeing more people living with dementia benefit from the support of a dementia assistance dog.
“Thanks to additional funding from the Life Changes Trust and the development of new initiatives, the project is leading the way in new and creative methods to bring dogs and people together to support people living with dementia and their carers.”
A drop-in session will be held from 10am-2.30pm on Monday June 25 at the Alzheimer Scotland Fife Dementia Resource Centre in Kirkcaldy.
Another session will be held in Aberdeen on Thursday July 5 from 1-3.30pm.
To confirm your place at either email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07771 358843.
For more on the project, visit www.dementiadog.org.