A Bournemouth charity that trains dogs to help young people has been named this month’s Community Hero in the Spotlight, ahead of International Dog Day (Thursday 26 August).

Helpful Hounds helps young people on the Autism spectrum and those with Down’s syndrome and other medical conditions to gain confidence, develop independence, and improve their quality of life.

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.

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 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!) I cannot thank Helpful Hounds enough for allowing us to have Whisper as Phoebe’s assistance dog.”

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, educationally, socially and in future work opportunity.

Our own objective is also to grow the Charity to be able 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.


Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs – We’re Better Together!