The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has donated £5,000 to Pets As Therapy (PAT) to help the charity expand its pioneering project to assist children suffering from a phobia of dogs.
A growing number of children are being referred to Pets As Therapy by psychologists and other health care professionals because the youngsters are so afraid of dogs that they are unable to walk to school, play in a park or take part in outdoor activities in case they meet a dog. Cases have been reported of children running into the road or climbing lampposts upon encountering a dog because of their phobia.
Pets As Therapy have been running a pilot project working with some of these children and helping them by working with guidelines on their phobia and desensitisation, and the Charitable Trust has now provided money to help them expand this scheme further.
The money will be used to provide extra temperament testing to ensure that specific dogs are suitable for this kind of work, and for providing specialist training for both assessors and volunteers to undertake work with phobic children.
Maureen Hennis, Chief Executive of Pets As Therapy, said "We are extremely grateful to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for assisting us with funding for this groundbreaking project. Every week Pets As Therapy receive requests from health care professionals to provide our expertise in this field and we now hope to be able to help more of these children, thanks to this grant."
This grant is the second significant donation made by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust to Pets As Therapy in the past six months. In September, the Trust awarded a grant of £5,600 to fund the next 100 PAT dogs to be registered by the charity. Throughout the UK over 100,000 people in hospitals, hospices residential homes, day care centres and special needs schools benefit every week from the comfort and companionship that PAT dogs bring. They are also used in treatment and therapy for patients with a variety of needs, including encouraging stroke victims to use their limbs again and helping patients with clinical depression break down barriers and communicate.
Mike Townsend, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, said: "One of the Charitable Trust’s three distinct aims is to promote dogs as therapeutic and practical aids to humans, and these two awards demonstrate our commitment to this objective. In particular, we wish Pets As Therapy success with their project to assist phobic children, as this work has the potential to be of great benefit to many young people who suffer from an unfortunate fear of man’s best friend."