Five Recovery Assistance Dogs have have been the first to graduate in Leicester 2018, as well as passing their Kennel Club Good Citizen Gold Award.
Recovery Assistance Dogs (RAD) are trained in three levels to assist mental health Survivors, helping them recover from their symptoms and find well-being. The five owners have trained their dogs to Level 3 (Level 1 is Obedience, Level 2 Skilled Assistance and Level 3 is Emotional Assistance) with RAD’s help.
Mitsy’s Owner, Nat, has been training her dog with RAD since December 2015. She says, “Mitsy and I are honoured to be graduating and being with Recovery Assistance Dogs has changed my life for the better. Thank You RAD.”
Chewie is a charming Springerpoo graduate at RAD Annual Gathering 2018. Chewie’s owner Luke, age 20, started training Chewie in January 2012.
Luke says, “This means that Chewie can do amazing things like sit still for two minutes without moving and for half a minute with me not in the room. This is useful while in a Café, as he can keep a table if it’s busy. Another useful aspect of the training is that he is obedient around food and will only eat something when told to.
“I cannot imagine life without Chewie. His loyalty and non-judgmental attitude has led to a huge boost in my confidence and a reduction in my panic attacks.”
Milli is an assistance dog extraordinaire who is graduating after 7 years of training. Her owner Liz, a KCAI Dog Trainer from Leicester says, “Milli is the next best thing to God as she doesn’t talk but communicates better than any human. She understands me completely, helps me be still and focused. For the last nine years of Milli’s life as my Assistance Dog I’ve not even felt suicidal.”
Inca is a handsome graduate that keeps her owner Colleen, from Kent, calm. It is difficult to put into words how getting through each day can be a problem for sufferers of anxiety. Inca gives her owner the power to face transport problems.
“She keeps me calm, by having my friend at my side I can cope,” Colleen says.
“My biggest fear is when people start saying ‘oh you are much better now, so you don’t need your dog, so would you mind not bringing her’. Usually this is from family and friends, which is so hard to deal with and can isolate you from going to family occasions. Thank you RAD for allowing and enabling me to keep my best friend and companion by my side.”
Kate from Hereford misses Rogue, her adored Bernese Mountain Dog, aged 9 years, and feels that life is strange without him. Rogue graduated on 14 July 2018, after training with RAD since January 2015, and sadly passed away a month later.
“Being able to train Rogue as a RECOVERY Assistance Dog has opened my eyes and showed me how much of the world I was missing out on. Rogue and his RAD Jacket enabled me to start chasing dreams I didn’t know I had. He saved me,” Kate says.
If you are interested, RAD Annual Gathering & Graduation will be held on World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2018, at the Exchange Bar, Rutland St, Leicester, LE1 1RD at 5pm-8pm. To find out more please email info@RECOVERYAssistanceDogs.org.uk or phone 0116 262 3946
Images by RAD.