Dogs possess an extraordinary knack for therapy and assistance. In Scotland, the government is tapping into this puppy support with its new initiative, “dementia dogs.” The program trains pups to assist and provide comfort for those battling the degenerative disease. Ken Will was diagnosed with dementia in 2010 and was among the first to receive the assistance of a four-legged friend. The difference, says he and his wife, has been remarkable. Kaspa is a 2-year-old golden Labrador, he retrieves medicine, carries items around the house and even works as an alarm clock, waking Mr. and Mrs. Will up at selected times. But as The Independent reports, the benefits for the Wills go beyond just help around the house.
“As well as helping out around the house with his practical training, the family pet has relieved a great deal of stress for the couple and encouraged them to get out and about. Mrs Will said: ‘Kaspa has totally given us our lives back. Ken is much happier because he’s got the dog and we can go out now.”
Scotland has recently increased the number of dogs in dementia training and Helen McCain from Dogs for the Disabled sees big plans ahead for the program:
“We really believe that the dementia assistance dog could make a significant contribution to the Government’s national dementia strategy.”