Training takes about two years and each dog is specifically trained to meet the needs of each individual recipient. Paws 4 U sessions are run so future recipients can come and spend time with the puppies being trained.
Therapy Ability Dogs visit special schools and respite care homes and help with desensitisation programmes for dog phobias.
There are more than 700 disabled young people under the age of 24 currently living on the Isle of Wight and there is a growing waiting list for Ability Dogs.
Fundraising and grants are vital for our work and a grant from the High Sheriffs’ Trust meant that an Ability Dog called Sheriff could be provided for Jon, a young man with autism.
The financial boost from the High Sheriffs’ Trust helped us so much and meant we were able to provide Sheriff for Jon.
Sheriff, a beautiful chocolate Labrador, is Jon’s constant companion and everyone who knows Jon is astounded at the progress he has made from being the boy too anxious to leave his room to the independent young man he has become – with Sheriff always by his side. This has taken enormous courage and effort on Jon’s part but he puts it down to Sheriff.
Sheriff and Ability Dogs like him make a huge difference not only to the young people themselves but also their families. The benefits they bring to the individual mean that other family members can relax a bit more and enjoy watching their child grow in confidence.
You can read more about Jon and Sheriff on their own Facebook page here www.facebook.com/Sheriff-Ability-Dogs-4-Young-People-IoW
Our costs are substantial and ongoing and we rely solely on the generosity of the public as well as organisations like the High Sheriffs’ Trust, which provides grants to numerous Island charities like ours. It’s really straightforward to apply and the Trust meets every quarter to discuss applications – so you know pretty quickly if you’ve been successful!
You can learn more about Ability Dogs 4 Young People here
Thank you for your support.