About us Community Heroes in the Spotlight Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs Community Action Network is committed to celebrate the invaluable work of charities working within the voluntary and community sector in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole. Therefore, this month, Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs has been chosen by CAN as our Community Hero in the Spotlight which also coincides with International Dog Day on the 26th August. Helpful Hounds is providing the provision and specialist training of Assistance Dogs to help young people and their families dealing with diagnosed Autism, Down’s Syndrome, Mental Issues or Physical Disability. Nic, one of the Helpful Hounds trainers, explains: “I’m a passionate dog owner and trainer. Two years ago, I helped to start Helpful Hounds. I am very lucky, as I love my job, working with some lovely families as well as schools and, of course, the amazing dogs! Having witnessed the difference that our Helpful Hounds can have on the families, the schools and the individuals, I am totally committed.” They also train dogs to work in schools and colleges with Special Needs Students. By bringing trained dogs and young people together, Helpful Hounds aims to help improve the quality of life as well as provide greater independence of those involved. One parent shares her thoughts about her daughter’s experience with Helpful Hounds: “Whisper has changed so many things for the better. She has been life-changing for us all. We can no longer imagine life without her by our side. Without Helpful Hounds we wouldn’t have our yellow bundle of joy and love (not to mention the hair on everything!).” Run mainly by volunteers, the charity empowers young people and their families. Dogs are specifically trained to perform at least three tasks, to support lifestyle and confidence, and to help the young person achieve their full potential, educationally and socially. Peter Rufus, Trustee and Volunteer CEO of Helpful Hounds, commented: “We’re delighted to be a member of C.A.N and have been regularly supported by the organisation. We all know, intuitively, the benefits that a well-trained dog brings to the family and the added value that Assistance Dog Training can provide, truly changes lives by helping the individual to achieve their full potential. Our own objective is also to grow the charity to help more young people and their families within the community.” For more information about Helpful hounds Assistance Dogs, you can find their website at www.helpfulhounds.org.uk or follow them on Facebook. You can listen here to our Partnerships Manager, Emma and Rufus, from Helpful Hounds Assistance Hounds talking to Blair Crawford on Hope FM about our Community Hero in the Spotlight initiative and the amazing work they are doing.