DOGS IN EDUCATION AND DOGS HELPING KIDS
Having previously taught in secondary schools for 20 years, I've been able to extend my love of teaching by educating a new generation of trainers, behaviourists and owners. I've also written Canine Behaviour & Welfare (diploma) and Animal Assisted Intervention course materials for an international animal course provider.
While writing these courses and delivering practical workshops in Animal Assisted Intervention, I came across the charity Dogs Helping Kids who work with schools across the UK. DHK are the only organisation in the country training and assessing dogs purely to work in school and college environments as both educational and therapeutic support.
I'm fascinated by the emotional relationship between people and dogs, which is one of the things that drew me to DHK and Animal Assisted Intervention because of the impact that dogs can have on the lives of vulnerable people. As a species, we are at the beginning of developing an understanding of the emotional make-up of the dogs in our lives. Science is only just starting to understand the emotional capacities of the animals we live with. Dogs, particularly, are deeply affected by the chemicals that drive our physical, emotional and mental states and we are at the beginning of exciting developments helping us understand the full impact of how our moods and health can affect our dogs.
These relationships start very early on in our puppies' lives. How we raise them, train them and work with them as Dogs in Education can have such an impact on helping them have successful, happy working lives.
One of the things that I loved about DHK when I came across them was the support that they give their puppies and their families in their early weeks. I was delighted when I was asked by Tracey and Gail to act as DHK's Puppy Life Skills Coordinator to continue the early weeks work they are doing with their puppies.
This is because it doesn't just develop my work with puppies; it also enables me to return to the world of educating children, teenagers and adults. I'm so proud to be able to work with DHK to be able to help puppies and their families build firm foundations at the start of their AAI careers.