I'm a newbie but have lurked on doghouse threads for ages and there always seems to be great advice!
I work with kids with SEN and in the not too distant future I will be able to get a dog. I would love to be able to include the dog in this work, first step would probably be as a pat dog and then basically see how it goes! I would be willing to put lots of time in training and socialising first of course and will be around most of the time.
I know there are some posters here who work at rescues. Do you think there are rescue dogs who would enjoy doing this kind of work? Would I have an issue rehoming or adopting a dog?
Yes, there are dogs who would enjoy that - my ddog1 is a rescue and is wonderful with my mum who has severe dementia, and with friends of ds who have autism. He's a lurcher and the most lovely natured dog ever . His ideal life would be to live in a nursing home I think.
I'd advise getting a youngish, but not puppy dog so you can really see their personality, and from a rescue who foster their dogs in homes so they know them well. My two both came from EGLR who rehome countrywide
It's worth getting to know the people at Pets As Therapy - I would be guided by them and seek to understand more about how this therapy works, and precisely what you'd like your dog to do.
While I agree that lots of rescue dogs would be very suitable (my friend has a rescue greyhound who is a PAT dog and regularly visits a residential unit for adults with severe autism) you should have a Plan B in case your dog is not suitable. Will you still keep it? Most rescues would be concerned about rehoming a dog to you in such very particular circumstances with such a very precise job to do.
Please also bear in mind that many PAT dogs, while absolutely brilliant, find it quite tiring as it requires a fair bit of concentration and a lot of emotional "giving" - you would have to be careful to limit the sessions.
Good suggestion re pets as therapy, I'll get in touch with them as soon as I'm back in the UK.
If it didn't work out with the therapy the dog would be a much loved pet! First and foremost I love dogs and home doesn't really feel like home without one. I will make sure this is clear to any rescues I approach. Being a pat dog/therapy dog would be an added bonus.
Yes I agree about the sessions being emotionally draining, I often find this myself so will be sure to consider the impact on the dog. Thanks for the advice!
Seems that greyhounds and lurchers are good breeds to look at!
My friends 3 legged greyhound was a PAT dog & are quite a few on greyhound forums they tend to be of a laidback, tolerant nature and the ex-racers tend to be well used to being handled in kennels which helps.
You could find out what things are needed to meet the assessments and use that to help select a suitable rescue dog, i think from memory they tested how they reacted to unexpected noises like keys/stick being dropped, if they take treats gently & well mannered etc. I did look into it with one of my greyhounds years back but decided i didn't have the time so didn't apply.
I realized recently how easy i had it with the greyhounds when trying my boxer x at blood donation, i just took the greys along and all 3 were fine with check up & donating, with muttley i spent time training him to accept shaver, being lifted, laying on table etc and it was still chaos so more work needed or abandon idea lol.