About 18 months ago, I was invited to be assessed with a view to being an Approved Trainer for the charity Dogs Helping Kids.
This came about in rather an odd way ! I was approached by someone who was already training with Dogs Helping Kids, and was struggling with a few things. As we were working with her fabulous dog, she kept mentioning that I’d said the same as Tracey, the founder of DHK. I then contacted the charity, as I was worried that I may be leading my client astray from their training plan.
It became clear that the charity’s founder and I had a very similar approach to training, and I was invited to pilot the new assessment process for Approved Trainers. Let’s just say that it is thorough, and rightly so, as very great care is taken of the dogs going through the DHK programme. The dog’s welfare is at the centre of the programme, and this in turn ensures that the children the dog eventually will be supporting (and everyone else in the school) have learned all about respecting and valuing that dog as an individual and keeping the dog safe.
The skill of the people training these dogs (and I mean their guardians and handlers, not the professional trainers supporting them) is phenomenal. I have worked with two teams so far, and am about to start with a new team next month. The dedication that is put in is second to none. It is a steep learning curve for the dog’s guardian and also for the school as a whole, to meet the needs of the dog, who in turn gives such a lot to everyone in the school.
It goes without saying that the dogs’ achievements are phenomenal, they have to be seen to be believed.
Tracey, the founder of the charity, has recently been recognised by Parliament with a Points of Light award for her achievement in setting up this tiny charity. She has dedicated her life to ensuring that the dogs’ welfare is at the centre of the programme. There are many organisations placing dogs in schools with nowhere near the attention to detail that Tracey, rightly, insists upon.
Please do look at the website, and if you could make a small donation to support the work of DHK, that would be amazing.