In France, 5 million people currently suffer from a disability. Among them, 1.5 million people have a disability which requires the use of a wheelchair – like many children who suffer from neuromuscular diseases. Assistance dogs are a must-have help for these people lacking mobility: picking up and bringing objects, opening doors / drawers, etc.) In addition, it is a great factor for personal development.
A team of professionals has been working there for 11 years, in an adapted facility hosting the dogs which are trained to support disabled people in their everyday life. Among the 140 dogs educated nation-wide by the association in 2013, 30 dogs were trained by the Handi’Chiens center.
During the first 16 months of the training period, the dog is hosted in a volunteer family. And then, the dog enters the Handi’Chiens Bretagne center for 6 months of additional education, specifically aimed at disability assistance. A training period is finally organized with the dog’s future master (disabled adult ; autistic, trisomic or multihandicapped child ; staff from retirement houses or specialized medical houses ; etc.). The project supported by the Air Liquide Foundation should improve conditions under which are welcomed children and adults suffering from autism, trisomy, or multiple handicaps. The project will also sensibly improve the living conditions of dogs and guarantee a high level of hygiene in doghouses.
The Air Liquide Foundation will enable the purchase of two puppies – future assistance dogs – and of learning games for children and dogs. Equipments for the center (high pressure cleaners, fence, etc.) will also be acquired thanks to the donation of the Air Liquide Foundation.