Dementia dogs at the ready for new patients and carers

A charitable collaboration that provides trained dogs for people living with dementia is looking to match two black Labradors with patients and their full-time carers.

Lenny and Hope have the skills to help enhance the quality of life for people living with early-stage dementia.

The Dementia Dog Project, an initiative set up between Alzheimer Scotland and Dogs for Good, aim to place the dogs Lenny and Hope in their new homes.

Following two years of training, the dogs have the skills to help enhance the quality of life for people living with early-stage dementia. The two dementia assistance dogs are trained in a variety of specialist tasks, from retrieving medication to helping wake someone up to get dressed, and can help with getting out and about in the local community.

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The Dementia Dog team are keen to hear from people who can meet the criteria of applying for the dogs.

Glenys and Ken Will with their dementia dog Kaspa.

Project manager Fiona Corner said: “It is wonderful to see the incredible impact these dogs can have for the people they go on to live with and support. We are now keen to hear from couples and families who would like to apply for one of these specially trained dogs.

“We are welcoming enquiries from people living throughout central Scotland. Applicants should be in the early stages of dementia and living at home with a full-time carer, have a fenced garden and love dogs. You don’t need to have previously owned a dog in order to apply. These highly trained dogs are provided completely free of charge, with all support and training provided through the Dementia Dog Project.”

There are about 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and it is estimated that 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020.

Henry Simmons, chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “There are few families in Scotland who are not living with dementia. We need new and innovative approaches to supporting them. The Dementia Dogs project is a fantastic example of collaborative and pioneering working to develop different types of support for people living with dementia.

“Over the past five years, the project has had a wonderful impact for a number of families.”