I’m on the hunt for stories about pets that have made a big difference to their owners’ lives – it’s a mini-series within Ireland AM on TV3 – known as “Pete’s Amazing Tails” – you can watch the video of our first winner, Clive, who is an assistance dog belonging to Murray.
The Irish Guide Dogs Assistance Dog Programme was the first of its kind in Europe when it was launched in 2005. An Assistance Dog is the same breed, age and temperament as a Guide Dog and is trained especially to work with a child with autism and his or her family.
Assistance Dogs can work with children with Asbergers, children with Autism and children who are on the autistic spectrum. They help to control and improve the behaviour of the child by promoting calmness and acting as a safety aid to the parent.
In particular, they help to prevent dangerous behaviour such as sudden bolting so that outings to public places become less stressful and families enjoy greater freedom and mobility.
An Assistance Dog also acts as a constant companion for a child, enhancing social skills and interactions with family and friends.
Advantages of an Assistance Dog
- Greater aptitude towards learning
- Improved participation in social activities
- Improved communications skills
- A greater sense of responsibility
- Improved confidence and independence
Irish Guide Dogs are unable to supply dogs at the moment, but other charities are helping out in this area, see Autism Assistance Dogs and My Canine Companion
If you have a pet that you feel qualifies as a potential winner of Pete’s Amazing Tails, send an email to email@example.com. Many thanks to Maxizoo Pet Shops for sponsoring this new venture.
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