DOGS HELPING KIDS
Dogs Helping Kids (D.H.K.) is a unique registered charity with its head quarters in North Devon. We are dedicated to training carefully selected dogs, known as ‘School Dogs’, to help teach children and teenagers non-violence, empathy, respect, kindness, love, responsibility, friendship and trust. These are achieved by our DHK School Dogs working in the school, college and library environments as both educational and therapeutic aids.
The impact our DHK School Dogs have on children and teenagers in the educational environment is amazing, and can change and enhance lives forever. Our DHK School Dogs have achieved the following:-
• Helped to increase academic achievements
• Increased literacy skills and levels
• Helped to calm behaviour down
• Increased social skills and self esteem
• Increased confidence
• Taught responsibility and to respect all life
• Motivated children who are not that attentive
• Helped to prevent truancy and absenteeism
Each DHK School Dog has to have reached a high level of positive dog training and pass an entry test before embarking on the DHK School Dog Training Programme with their owners. This unique charity programme takes approximately two years to complete and each dog and owner ‘team’ has to pass six increasingly difficult assessments to achieve certification with the charity. Once officially certified each DHK School Dog is annually assessed in their place of work. We are the only charity with such high standards with regards to the welfare and training of dogs working in the educational arena – there can be no margin for error when working with children and dogs. Each Certified DHK School Dog wears a special orange harness and coat, a special lead, a personalised collar and their owner carries identification of their School Dog on them at all times.
Liam and Charlie's Story
Liam has suffered with PTSD and depression for many years, caused by a very traumatic event 10 years ago. Liam found attending school a real challenge due to panic attacks and anxieties. In 2012 Liam took a turn for the worse and his depression became extremely worrying. Nothing seemed to be working and his family were running out of options to keep him safe. It was an extremely difficult time for Liam; he just didn’t want to live anymore.
Charlie was due to start his training with DHK around this time and when Tracey learned of Liam's problems she suggested that Charlie should start his training to become Liam's Support School Dog - the first of his kind within DHK. Whilst training Charlie Liam discovered a real passion and talent for dog training and day by day his spark began to return. Having Charlie by his side enabled Liam to start doing things again which had been impossible for him before. He started to go into Barnstaple and people would come over to find out about his dog in his orange coat. Liam was able to talk to them about all of the wonderful things they do together. Everyday he had Charlie by his side, his self esteem and confidence grew. Charlie is amazing! He knows when Liam is having a bad day and he will go over and comfort him. Everyone who knows Liam is very impressed with the progress he has made, where other therapies couldn’t help him, DHK could.
Liam is now DHK's Teenage Advisor and feels very passionately about promoting the charity and helping to raise money so that other children can be helped when they too need it the most. We are all hugely proud of everything that Liam and Charlie have achieved together.
It is the charity’s long term vision to have a DHK School Dog working and helping in every school, college and library in the United Kingdom.
To find out more please visit our website