Assistance Dogs: From Education to the workplace

by Peter Rufus in Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 12th April 2022 we successfully raised £18,430 ( + est. £92.50 Gift Aid ) with 400 supporters in 42 days

To purchase and train puppies to change the lives of young people dealing with Autism, Down's Syndrome as well as physical disablement.

by Peter Rufus in Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If we raise more money, this will be invested in helping more young people needing a Helpful Hound to open up their opportunities in education and work.

National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund

We’re taking part in the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund. Donations to our project will be matched by the fund up to the value of £250 per donation to help us overcome the effects of the pandemic.

Please note only one donation per supporter will be matched by the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund.


There are many conditions that impact the ability of some young people to attend education, which in turn, affects their ability to attend college/university or to get work as they grow older.

These conditions include but are not limited to Autism, Down's Syndrome, Severe Anxiety, PTSD and Physical Disablement. All of these can be helped by Assistance Dogs.

 In additions there are conditions that can be debilitating but with sufficient warning can be managed better such as epilepsy, diabetes, Pott's. These require Medical Alert Dogs.

Helpful Hounds has Families and individuals that have complex conditions that could require their Assistance Dog, also to be able to alert them to an on setting condition.

So why have we called this project Assistance Dogs from Education to the Workplace?  The simple fact is that a properly trained and socialised Helpful Hound can do calming techniques, undertake tasks such as picking things up, dressing, give confidence to go out and, importantly, provides a social link to peer groups and others: A dog is a great talking point, especially if it is your best friend!

All of this support from a Helpful Hound, whose training is targeted at the needs of the individual can help provide the confidence and stability to attend education and, if appropriate attend college and University and eventually apply for work. Naturally, the dog can be with the Human Partner both in Education and at place of work.

We have proof of this with Sophie who attended University and now is an experienced Dog Trainer for Helpful Hounds and takes the lead (excuse the pun!) in Medical Alert Training.

Helpful Hounds is also working with a number of teenagers, including Henry who, with his Helpful Hound Lucky have been working with one of our Trainers for 18 months.  The progress made by Henry has been remarkable and whilst there is some way to go, it has changed his life significantly as well as that of his family (See testimonial).

Helpful Hounds also works with younger children but the progression from School to University to work is the objective of this Helpful Hounds programme. The objective of this programme is to identify families with older teenagers/young adults and focus our support with a number of additional dogs and the training of those dogs.

Importantly, like many charities, the developments we had planned were held back because of the Coronavirus Pandemic over the last two years.  For Helpful Hounds, we have also had to be most careful, as the families that we support, have been vulnerable during this period, so our priority had to be with communicating with them via Zoom/Facetime to ensure that the training could be continued. This project will be the start of our work to get back on track and to expand the help we are able to provide to more families and Schools.


Henry is 15 years old and has a diagnosis of ASD and Sensory Processing Disorder. As a family we are so grateful to Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs  for providing Henry with this amazing opportunity to train Lucky as Henry’s Assistance Dog.  Lucky, although small!, has given Henry the confidence to access the world around him.

 1645201364_picture1.jpgEsther is Henry and Lucky’s trainer, she has built a positive relationship with them and has been a huge support for Henry, our family and school.  Within the training Esther provides regular plans, visuals and guidance.  Esther’s consistent support has enabled Henry and Lucky to pass the Good Citizen Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards and are now working towards the Public Access Assessment.   Lucky is Henry’s best friend; they have such a special loving relationship and together they can achieve so much.

"Rebecca has been having a hard time recently and I know we’d be lost without the help from Toby. Becky was quite stressed and Toby lifted his head and looked at her (like he knew) which led to her lying down and gently cuddling him. He put his head on her arm and they stayed there for quite a while resting. She chose this instead of having a meltdown. It was lovely to see". 

Kira does not have a trained Assistance Dog, yet but she is creating a bond with Hershey who is being trained to be partnered with her. Kira is at University right now but has identified the 1645196406_269808942_3085974361692256_6546094921289803180_n.jpgextra help that Hershey will provide for her medical and mobility issues as she moves on in her future life. Hershey, a Labradoodle, has been chosen for her because of allergy issues and, when fully grown, will be the right size to walk with her wheelchair.

The impact that our Helpful Hounds have not only helps their individual partner, but they help the whole family making life a little bit easier - an example like Toby, stopping a situation escalating and a meltdown is avoided.  

Value for your Donation

As a Charity working mainly with Volunteers (50% of our Trainers are Volunteers, as are all of our other staff, including the CEO) which means we can ensure every £1 donated will go to the heart of our Charity. In this case, the Dogs, the training and support for families with teenagers diagnosed with one of the conditions mentioned earlier.

Your support will be  appreciated so much and will help us to help more young people like Henry, Kira and Becky.

And a final "Thank You" from Hobi and Daisy May.  

You may have seen them in an earlier appeal.  1645202875_dscn2579v2.jpgThese puppies (Six Weeks old in the first photo) are now nine months old 1645203162_273169829_3115046255451733_7682855319038743861_n.jpgand progressing very well with their training.  Your support really does make a difference.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A Subscription to The Helpful hounds Quarterly News Letter

£30 or more

0 of 100 claimed

£30 Reward

A Helpful Hounds pen

£500 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£500 Reward

Name a Puppy (Ideally beginning with H)

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