A dedicated team of canine friends who have helped transform the young lives of well over 100 children with special needs is proudly celebrating their fifth anniversary.
Supportive canines at the Waggy Tails group have been able to help young people with a range of different disabilities to be able to find their own thoughts and opinions for the very first time. The organisation has also meant that these children have been able to experience socialising with the other children, as well as being able to complete day-to-day responsibilities that we take for granted but that they have not had the chance to do before.
During the sessions, which are carried out on a weekly basis, at South Croydon’s Emmanuel Church Hall, around 25 of the children – who are each joined by their teenage volunteers known as their ‘buddies’ – spend around two whole hours training chosen dogs.
Colinette Ryder, who has a 14-year-old son with autism called Daniel, has been attending the centre in Rockhampton Road for over a year now.
She spoke of her time at the centre: “During that time the progress he has made has been outstanding.
“The dogs at Waggy Tails are just as special as the children.”
“They all have wonderful temperaments and are so gentle and attentive.”
“He feels safe and comfortable there and quickly learnt to feel at ease around the dogs.”
“This confidence has transferred to when we are out walking and now he loves it when we are out and we meet a dog.”
Colinette has spoken about how Daniel has vastly improved in his conversational skills due to the group and the help it offers:
“He gets excited and enjoys stopping to talk to owners and their dogs, which is helping develop his conversation.”
“It is great to see Daniel so happy and has made walking over to the park an absolute joy.”
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