Alzheimer Scotland is an organisation I hold close to me heart due to my grandmother battling the debilitating disease. Seeing first hand the devastating effects this had on my Gran’s life plus the emotional effect it had on my own Mum who was caring for her as she slowly deteriorated was heart breaking so when I came across the Dementia Assistance Dogs Pilot Scheme I was very interested to find out a bit more.

Dementia Dog started its life as a Glasgow School of Art service design project commissioned by Alzheimer Scotland that secured the attention and funding of both the Scottish Executive and the Design Council through the Living Well with Dementia Challenge. It began as a collaboration between Alzheimer Scotland, The Glasgow School of Art, Dogs for the Disabled and Guide Dogs UK, bringing together the teams’ expertise in dementia care and provision of trained assistance dogs.

Following the successful completion of the research stage and having secured additional funding, Dementia Dog has embarked on its first small-scale pilot scheme, based at the Guide Dogs for the Blind training facility in Forfar, Angus.

A number of dogs were identified as potential candidates for the programme and four passed their initial training to progress to matching with families.

Kaspa is one of the four dogs who was partnered with Ken and Glenys in mid 2013. The couple have found he has made a huge difference to Ken’s life and his presence has helped Ken’s confidence to grow. He has been trained to bring Ken his medication and to nudge Ken in response to certain alarms , which remind him to make food, put the kettle on, etc. “Kaspa’s like Ken’s shadow. He’s never far from him. When he has to take something to Ken, he’ll do it as fast as he can, come hell or high water!”

These special dogs are proving to be a huge blessing to the families they are working with and in order for the pilot scheme to be completed they need to raise £30,000.

Do you know anyone suffering from Dementia? Would you like to learn more about the pilot scheme and possibly help?

To find out more or to make a donation online go to www.DementiaDog.org or like and follow the ‘dog selfie’ campaign on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dementiadogproject?fref=ts