Tag: Alzheimer’s

Canine carer celebrated at Assistance Dogs Australia graduation ceremony

Skip is part of Australia’s first assistance dog program to help people living with dementia and their families. He recently graduated from the program at a ceremony for assistance dogs in Sydney.

Richard Bartlett has been living with dementia for the past four years. His wife, Jennifer, said there came a point where she couldn’t leave Richard on his own. She knew something had to be done. 

Jennifer attended a lecture at HammondCare where she was offered a brochure for the Dog4Dementia program. The more she looked into it, the more she felt it could be helpful to Richard. That’s why she decided to apply for an assistance dog.

After a few lengthy interviews to assess eligibility, a black Labrador named Skip was delivered to Richard and Jennifer’s house.

Skip became an integral part of the family in no time and is respected and admired by his community. Being with Skip has paved the way for Richard to make social connections with other people.

“It’s helping to combat the stigma that’s often associated with dementia,” said Dementia Centre Consultant Deborah Moore.

Jennifer says she feels more secure knowing that Skip is with Richard on his walks.

“It’s a great comfort to me when I throw them both out the door. I know that Skip will help [Richard] if needed. I’m sure of it,” she said.

Research is also revealing a number of health benefits, for people living with dementia, associated with having an assistance dog.

“Not only do these specially trained assistance dogs provide additional support for people living with dementia,” said Ms Marie Alford, Head of Implementation at the Dementia Centre, “our research has also shown they reduce anxiety and create greater opportunities for autonomy – they bring joy, comfort and companionship.”

Changing lives – one dog at a time

We received over 400 expressions of interest for this innovative project. The findings from this pilot program have demonstrated excellent outcomes including opportunities for greater autonomy for the person living with dementia and their carer. We are now seeking funding to continue the Dogs4Dementia program.

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Rosie, Jerry and Bailey 6 months on

Well here we are 6 months on from when Bailey our beautiful Chocolate Labrador arrived on our doorstep . We can not imagine life without him, he fits into our family like a glove & adds so much joy to our days.

Even our very mature little dog Ricky (in his 17th year) welcomed him & they have become such good friends…

After a few weeks settling into our new routine , daily walks have become our regular exercise.

Beach & park runs free of jacket & lead are really special times, to see him & Jerry playing so freely is just amazing. He is such a pleasure to take to the beach , his interaction with other dogs is just so lovely, always the gentleman !

Bailey has been welcomed wherever we go & has been the topic of many a conversation if Jerry is sat waiting whilst I pop into to order our coffee or to quickly pick up a few things in the supermarket.

In recent times Jerry would never have sat outside waiting for me , lets alone have a conversation with someone he didn’t know. Bailey has provided a much needed anchor & with that confidence to interact with people , making the D4D program so worth while.

Another aspect which is so invaluable , whilst we have faced some challenging times in the last few months , the comfort Bailey provides has been so welcomed by us both . He senses when Jerry needs him at his feet or I just need to give him a cuddle & a pat.

We certainly are very privileged to have Bailey as part of our family !

Thank you !!!!!



The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.