Close search Submit

25 things you didn’t know about Dogs for the Disabled

5 AUG 2013


25 things you didn’t know about Dogs for the Disabled, this year celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

 Dogs for the Disabled:

  1. was set up in 1988 by Frances Hay, herself disabled, and inspired to help others after training her own dogs to support her. The charity has now trained more than 500 adult assistance dogs
  2. trains assistance dogs to load and unload a washing machine!
  3. in 2005 introduced the first assistance dogs for disabled children in the UK and has now trained over 100
  4. dogs have been trained to retrieve items indicated by laser pen and to pass the girth under a horse
  5. trained the first autism assistance dog in the UK
  6. receives no government funding, relying wholly on donations: it costs nearly £3 million per year to fund its vital services
  7. in 2010 introduced PAWS, a revolutionary scheme using pet dogs to help children with autism
  8. is the first charity to pilot a Dementia Dog scheme
  9. has enabled a family with a child with autism to go on holiday for the first time
  10. needs £20,000 to train and support an assistance dog for its entire life
  11. uses only positive reinforcement methods to train dogs
  12. assistance dog Vesta smashed the Guinness World Record for most towels retrieved from a washing line by a dog!
  13. has commissioned the first major research study into the relationship between dogs and children with autism
  14. has, through its assistance dogs, brought about a proposal and happy marriage!
  15. has given a young adult with a physical disability the confidence to go to university
  16. dogs and puppies munch their way through around 8 tons of dog  food per year!
  17. needs to breed, purchase, or be gifted up to 90 puppies a year
  18. assistance dog Bumble reached the final 5 in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for a Toto to star in The Wizard of Oz
  19. relies on over 500 volunteers to ensure the success of its services– puppy socialisers, temporary boarders, drivers, fundraisers and after care volunteers
  20. has trained some unusual breeds including a Leonburger and a cockerpoo
  21. research revealed that an assistance dog increases social interaction for a wheelchair user by a whopping 900%!
  22. trains assistance dogs for the young and old alike; from 3 years to its oldest client, now 87!
  23. assistance dog Monty saved her owner’s life by waking her up when a fire broke out in a hotel
  24. has its own Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages – follow them today!
  25. inspires some unusual fundraising challenges; the latest a 45 minute plank by a fitness instructor – ouch!