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Companion Dogs For Children & Young People
This week, we’re celebrating the fact that there are now 100 buddy dogs working to help children and young people with sight loss across the UK.
At Guide Dogs we believe that a dog can make a remarkable difference in any child’s life by fostering a sense of responsibility and companionship through the human/animal bond.
Following a successful pilot, Buddy Dogs was launched as a full service in January 2012. The buddy dog service matches specially selected dogs and places them within a school or family environment for the benefit of children and young people who are blind or partially sighted.
Buddy dogs are guide dogs that haven't qualified to work as mobility assistance dogs but can improve the quality of life of children and young people who are blind and partially sighted by contributing to sensory and physical development, enhancing their confidence and self-esteem, countering isolation and depression, increasing levels of exercise and improving their communication skills. In some cases, a buddy dog can help to assess whether a young person could benefit from a guide dog in the future.
The process for getting a buddy dog is a bit different to that of a guide dog, it is a small evolving service, placing around 20 to 30 dogs per year. It is hard for us to be certain at any one time how many potential buddy dogs we will have available. If you are interested in learning more about buddy dogs or would like to discuss the application process, please visit the other Buddy Dogs pages of our website or contact your local mobility team.
Think buddy dogs might be for you?
To find out more about buddy dogs and how you can get involved, contact your local Guide Dogs Mobility Team
Please note that the Nottingham and Liverpool Mobility Teams are not able to accept new applicants for their buddy dog waiting list. These teams cover Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire, Cheshire and Merseyside. The teams are able to provide a range of other services for children and young people such as mobility, orientation and independence training and are accepting applications for guide dogs for children and young people. Please contact the teams directly for more details www.guidedogs.org.uk/nottingham or www.guidedogs.org.uk/liverpool