Community Dogs support either adults or children with autism or different individual needs.
Community Dogs work with either in a range of community settings and facilities (including schools, care facilities and therapy rooms).
They are not Assistance Dogs and therefore do not have the same public access rights in public buildings and shops. Each Community Dog is trained to work well in one type of facility but not all. They are invited to work in a particular facility with a regular trained handler. There are different jobs for different dogs, depending on who the dog enjoys working with.
A Community Dog has generally been originally trained as an Assistance Dog or Guide Dog. They may not have been suitable for the Assistance or Guide Dog Programmes due to being uncomfortable in a guiding harness or lacking the confidence to navigate obstacles for example. Therefore, they were selected for the Community Dog Programme due to their social nature and gentle disposition.
Community Dogs in Schools
The Community Dog, along with their trained handler, becomes part of the essential learning process within the school. The dog and handler work alongside the educational staff and educational therapists in the school to help reduce stress and increase the learning potential of the students by goal directed interventions. Together, the trained dog and handler participate in classroom activities and work with individual students and groups.
Community Dogs for Adults
The specially trained dog and handler work alongside either a therapist, social care practitioner, support worker or healthcare provider. The dog may be used as a supportive, calming influence for a patient in a session. Alternatively, the human services professional may require the dog to help motivate a person to engage more in activities and direct a session towards meeting specific goals to support each person’s needs.
Visit our Resource Centre to find our more about our Community Dog Programme.
"Travis is on duty every morning greeting students, either in the ASD unit or at the front gate. He is the focal point in the Animal Care class which is a short Junior Cert course with the ASD class. Quite simply he brings joy to the school." - Donncha McCarrick, Teacher, St. Peter's College, Dunboyne, Co. Meath
"Nala brings a sense of joy and healing with her everywhere she goes. Students who are anxious can come up and sit in the counselling space and just pet her, which brings a natural calming presence. She is a ray of sunshine every day to all she meets.” Clair Breen, Wellbeing Co-ordinator & Psychotherapist, The King’s Hospital School, Palmerstown, Dublin
Please complete the following form to apply for a Community Dog.
Availability of suitable dogs as part of our Community Dog Programme cannot be guaranteed and is dependent on the availability of suitable dogs. The acceptance of an application does not guarantee the provision of a dog. Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind reserves the right to refuse an application.