CZAAWE Resource Article

Dogs for the disabled: benefits to recipients and welfare of the dog
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
1998
Publication/Journal 
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Abstract 
Dogs for the Disabled is an organisation recently established in the UK to provide trained assistance dogs to enhance the mobility and independence of people with physical disabilities. Fifty-seven recipients of a Dog for the Disabled (90% of all recipients) took part in a questionnaire survey to assess satisfaction with their dog, commitment to the dog's welfare, and other changes in their life brought about by obtaining their dog. Subjects reported an increased sense of social integration, enhancement to self-perceived health, and an affectionate, often supportive, relationship with their dog. Levels of satisfaction with the dog's work and the quality of the recipient–dog relationship were greater in subjects for whom the idea to have a dog was their own than in subjects who were influenced by other people to acquire a dog. These differences were small but statistically significant and may be a useful predictor in future applicants of the success of the working relationship.