Ceri, Martin, Harry & sister Beth with PAWS dog (terrier) Barnaby

Ceva embarks on a major new partnership with Dogs for Good

Living up to its  “Together, beyond animal health“ vision, Ceva has recently embarked on a major new long-term partnership with the UK charity Dogs for Good. 

The charity enables adults and children who live with a wide range of physical and mental health issues to live more fulfilling and independent lives through carefully planned interventions with dogs. This exciting new partnership will see Ceva provide financial, practical and moral support through a coordinated program that aims to help Dogs for Good transform the lives of even more people in the future.

For 30 years Dogs for Good has brought greater independence and companionship to many people through partnerships with highly trained assistance dogs. Building on their experience of training and working with assistance dogs over the years inspired them to explore other ways dogs can help individuals, families and communities. Today Dogs for Good uses creative and inspiring partnerships between people and dogs to meet the diverse needs of those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, dementia and those living the after-effects of stroke and other debilitating diseases. 

But for Martin Mitchell that is just the start:

For some years now Ceva has been a passionate advocate of human-animal relations. Dogs for Good epitomises
the concept of the human-animal bond in practice so I am really excited about working with them in the coming years. The support they provide to individuals and families affected by a wide range of health issues is awe inspiring but as a company
we are especially keen to support their pioneering work with families with autistic children.

One way that Dogs for Good provide support to families with a child with autism is by providing fully-trained assistance dogs. These dogs can make a huge difference to the lives of families with a child with autism but training the dogs takes nearly two years and is expensive meaning only a limited number of families can benefit. 

Ten years ago, the charity began to realise that perhaps not all children with autism needed an assistance dog; simply having a well-trained pet dog in the home might also be beneficial. Dogs for Good therefore teamed up with the National Autistic Society and the University of Lincoln for a three-year research project investigating how dogs can affect children with autism and impact on the family unit as a whole. The University of Lincoln’s Dr Daniel Mills, who specialises in animal behaviour and in exploring the potential benefits of keeping animals, is an old friend of Ceva.

The ground-breaking study, led by Dr Mills, confirmed that pet dogs can have a highly positive effect on autistic children and the whole family unit. Some of the findings from the study, for which 500 dog owning families with autistic children were surveyed, included:

  • 85% reported their child was happier in the presence of the family dog
  • 60% reported their child was less likely to have a meltdown
  • of 62 families tracked before and after they got a dog, 69% of parents showed reduced stress levels within 10 weeks of getting their pet

The project’s research findings provided a solid foundation on which Dogs for Good built their Family Dog Service. The result is that the charity has been able to support many more families with a child with autism: while Dogs for Good has provided around 80 fully-trained assistance dogs, they have helped some 800 families benefit from pet dogs through their Family Dog Service.

Children with autism tend to be anxious, can be withdrawn, often display repetitive behaviours and are prone to ‘melt-downs’ when they become overwhelmed by their surroundings. The presence of a well-trained pet dog can help them feel much less anxious, encourage them to become more engaged and motivated, can disrupt repetitive behaviours and generally promotes a calmer environment that benefits the whole family both in the home and outside.

Going forward, one area in which Ceva hopes to support Dogs for Good is in developing an online learning resource so that even more families with a child with autism can enjoy the benefits that a carefully chosen and properly trained and managed pet dog can bring. 

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