Canine Partners is committed to improving the quality of life and independence of people with a complex range of physical disabilities, the majority of whom use a wheelchair. This is done through the provision of highly trained assistance dogs, which are carefully selected and specially trained to carry out a number of specialised assistive tasks to increase the independence of their allocated human partners. These tasks may be difficult, painful or impossible for their partners to perform themselves. Tasks include opening and closing doors, unloading washing machines, helping people to undress, picking up dropped items, pressing buttons and switches and getting help in an emergency. The dogs also offer strong emotional support both to the partner and to family members, thereby providing additional evidence of the value of dogs in a therapeutic role – increasing confidence and self-esteem, bringing companionship, a sense of security and increased opportunities for social interaction.
Many of the individuals who receive our dogs return to work or further education as a result of the confidence they gain by having the companionship and responsibility of owning a dog. This has a lasting and profoundly positive effect on health and wellbeing.