By Michal Okonski
A Leicester-based charity visited De Montfort University on Tuesday(NOV15) to raise awareness of mental health assistance dogs.
RAD Assistance Dogs specialises in training dogs in mental health assistance with specialisedcommands that help people struggling with a range of mental and physical disabilities.
“I like to call them lifesavers with fur,” Rachael Harris, operations manager at RAD, said.
“Some of our members wouldn’t leave the house without their dog,” she added.
RAD was founded ten years ago but gained extra popularity during the Covid lockdownperiod and now has service users across the UK, training its dogs with them throughonline Zoom call.
The charity is extremely proud of the work it does with owners’ own canines, who can beany size or breed.
One of the dogs that students got to meet at the Students’ Union visit was Daisy-Mae, who is theonly known assistance Japanese Chin in the UK.
“Daisy-Mae’s size doesn’t stop her from being one of the most amazing assistance dogs wehave!,” said Rachel.
“She recently received a commendation from the PDSA after saving her owner from takingher own life. Only 150 animals in the country have received that.”
Each dog’s training regime can be highly personalised to its owners needs, such as helpingthem take their clothes off or performing deep pressure therapy to reduce the impact of apanic attack.
“Daisy-Mae recently sensed that her owner’s oxygen levels got too low and tapped her inthe middle of the night to get her oxygen mask on. That saved her life. She’s incredible,”Rachael Harris noted.
RAD’s details, and how to get involved, can be found at www.radassistancedogs.org.uk andtraining your own dog through its sessions costs just £2 a month.