One of our affiliate member’s Canine Perspective CIC recently completed a ground-breaking series of social projects, called Canine Hope, with the best co-tutor she has ever worked with!
The Social Projects
The projects have developed due to the success of a teen fiction novel called Reggie & Me, the first book in the Dani Moore Trilogy, written by one of Canine Perspective’s Directors. The book explores the relationship between a teenage survivor of sexual assault and the relationship she develops with her rescue dog as she recovers.
Canine Hope is the social project that is dedicated to working with survivors of rape and sexual violence, with rescue dogs. It is this project that forms the cornerstone of this social enterprise as it is the reason Canine Perspective CIC exists.
Dogs are among the most resilient of animals. Our expectations of them within today’s culture in the UK surpass that of any other animal. Humans ‘train’ them to live in their home and expect them to understand the way they want them to behave. From the first day that they are taken away from their canine Mum, they have to adapt to a new way of life and that’s the best-case scenario. More are more dogs are now being abandoned to rescue centres, having been abused, neglected or misunderstood. Despite the horrendous experiences these dogs have faced, they learn to trust humans again. With the right understanding and approach, they thrive. The learnt behaviours that have developed through their mistreatment can absolutely be changed to reduce their fear and anxiety.
The way in which dogs learn is proven to follow a process based on consequences. A dog will repeat behaviours that have brought about a positive outcome. Breaking down a behaviour in to incremental steps, rewarding each stage and honing the desired skill is something a dog enjoys and benefits from. The dog can immediately show the human if they didn’t understand what was being asked of them, or if they become frustrated or disinterested so the human can adapt the teaching or take a break. The communication skills, resilience, focus and need for understanding that we learn from dogs are vital skills that have often been negatively affected through the process of surviving sexual violence.
The science behind the relationship we have with dogs is fascinating and there is a direct correlation when working with survivors. For example, the oxytocin rush when looking in to the eyes of a dog is a physical reaction that naturally enhances the level of happiness a person feels. Working with a dog who allows the human to stroke them offers natural relaxation and a way to experience safe and positive touch with a living being.
Utilising the stories of the rescue dogs, Canine Hope offers objective discussions about new ways to approach surviving. The practical elements of working with dogs involve nutrition, drinking water, exercise, stretching and deep breathing. Along with warmth, safe shelter and medical care, these are fundamental elements of practical wellbeing that survivors can often abandon. With a renewed acknowledgement about the foundations of wellbeing, the focus shifts to the experience of the dog and questions can be raised that link directly to common characteristics of being a survivor. These are approached through questions about the dog and the way in which they express emotions and cope in these situations.
Sir Bruno’s Project Debut
A new team member joined Canine Perspective CIC for the series of projects that have recently taken place. His name is Bruno and he is in rescue in Herefordshire. Bruno’s story epitomises the resilience that we talk about during our projects. Bruno’s story sadly isn’t unusual, he has been let down by humans in the worst possible way, with one physical assault leading to him having to have a leg amputated. A human did that to him.
He has been frightened, neglected, physically hurt and let down time and time again. Yet, this young dog has shown a level of resilience and strength that he still has to draw on every single day. Even with the extremes that he has been forced to endure at the hands of humans, he was the reason our projects for humans were so successful. He was the reason that the survivors who joined our projects could learn about their own responses, reactions and the strength that they have to not simply survive, but to trust, to learn and to know that life can be awesome.
Bruno made a number of new friends on our projects, some of whom he was drawn to and sat with for long periods of time. He has a gift when it comes to responding to human emotions and provides the perfect mix of calm affection and excitement. His enthusiasm for learning is infectious and along with his sensitive side, his ability to make people laugh is pure genius.
I struggle to find the words to express what Bruno gave us by joining our team. As a co-tutor he was the star of the sessions and he brought a different energy, a different lesson and a different approach every time we worked together. Each time, it was perfect.
Now, I need to do something for my friend. He needs his own forever sofa, a place he can settle and spend his days with people who will love him. I don’t just mean the platitudes about how wonderful he is, of course he is wonderful, I need someone who will put that love into action. He needs an adult only home, not that he isn’t great with smaller humans, just than he needs a quiet place where he can chill and not have too much noise around him. He has lived with dogs and cats, but we’re hoping for an animal free home, again, so he can relax and just bask in the glory of having undivided love and attention from his adoring humans. He is not a fan of other dogs when he’s out and about, remember that he’s vulnerable on three legs, so needs somebody who understands this, can work with the advice they’re given and can help him to work on this; he thrives when he’s learning. There’s no end to the talents of this boy, whether it’s scent work, tricks or learning cues, you will have an adoring companion to make your life complete.
If you think you can be Bruno’s forever human, please contact Marie: firstname.lastname@example.org