We welcomed Fiona Corner and Carla Mounsey from the Dementia Dog Project for the evening. Fiona, the project manager based at Castle Huntly, explained the origins of the project as a pilot project called Assistance Dog in 2011. The current project grew from this initial interest and has been running since 2016 with then training of eight dogs at Castle Huntly.
Each dog is trained to accompany a dementia patient who is not in full-time care. This is hoped to restructure the routine of the patient who can gain confidence, become a social connector in public and provide an emotional anchor at home. The dog is kept on a dual lead for walks in the community and this has been shown to boost confidence, independence reduce social isolation.
Carla was accompanied by one of the trained dogs and demonstrated the abilities of the dog to support a patient. What was a fun exercise did show the seriousness of the situation for dementia patients and was welcomed by the Club Members.