WE INCREASE UNDERSTANDING
While there are over a quarter of the population in the UK who own dogs; there are a lot of misconceptions about how to meet their needs. At MAD for Dogs, we work hard to increase understanding of the transformative input these animals have in our lives and how we can repay them by expanding our knowledge and learning to make their lives and ours the best they can be together.
We blog about living with, improving, and supporting the lives of those dogs you share your life with, in a friendly and accessible way. Our resources explain key issues clearly – we don’t believe in complicating things unnecessarily. Plus, everything we do comes from a place of compassion and empathy.
MAD for Dogs Team
WE CHAMPION DOGS
There are many people who have had dogs all their lives, but few know how to give back to these incredible individuals. So many people hope they are ‘doing enough’ we are here to support and educate those who want to go that extra mile, in doing so we raise money to fund projects in the Local Veteran Hubs to make sure those dogs who are lifelines to ex-service people can live happy long lives.
MAD for Dogs was the dream for Rach Birt. Back in 2019, she was on a course learning about working with assistance dogs. The veterans there asked what they could do to give back to the dogs who were their lifelines. She shared her knowledge and expertise and in a short space of time, as each dog began to relax, forage and explore, spending time ‘just being a dog’ with no expectations, she noticed the visible positive impact not just on the dogs, but also on the expression and mood of each care-giver. Realising the important role these dogs have in the lives of ex-service people, especially those struggling with PTSD and acknowledging how much they do truly appreciate them and feel the need to give back, Rach started planning ways to improve and support the lives of those dogs that give so much.
We strive to raise awareness and increase understanding of the uniqueness of all dogs and are passionate about advocating for their mental and physical needs to be recognised and catered for.
We are creating subscription boxes and monthly t-shirt subscriptions for everyone who wants to learn more about their dogs and make a difference in their lives. What makes us even more remarkable is that all profits are ploughed back into our community projects in the veteran hubs, making a difference for them and their dogs too.
Because we’ve first-hand experience of what living with a dog who supports you through depression and PTSD is like, we understand how all-consuming the isolation can be and how vital our dogs are to our recovery. We’ve vowed to do our best to make a difference for all dogs, and specifically those dogs who give people something to live for every day.
The mental health of your dog is just as important as their physical health and we are working hard to get this message out there.
We raise awareness, provide tools and knowledge to help those dogs who support ex-service people live longer and happier lives. We work closely with Veteran Hubs, their service users, local communities and companies to help them understand dogs more, what they can do to make a difference and how they can support those who rely on their dogs as a lifeline.
SOME OF OUR PROJECTS
Weymouth Veterans Hub
Studies show that human-animal interaction increases oxytocin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of calm, comfort and focus and this is particularly important when the individuals suffer from PTSD. The project at the Weymouth Veterans hub will build a sensory garden to help enrich the lives of both the veteran and their dogs.
The concept of a sensory garden is that it will contain a collection of plants and materials with different textures, shapes, colours, scents, placed at various heights, water features and even in some cases wind chimes, to stimulate our natural senses (Sight, Hearing, Smell, Touch and Taste). The sensory garden we propose will provide areas of enrichment for both the veteran and their dog to enjoy and benefit from.
We run sessions at the hub for the Veterans and their dogs within the garden, it is a place for quiet contemplation. This is a safe environment where the dog can be a dog, in order to reset, reboot and recharge. Being a companion to a Veteran who suffers from PTSD can take its toll on the physical and mental health of the animal and as such we are here to help support them so that they can be of service longer to their humans. We include various mindful activities for the veterans to engage in with their dog and provide them both with a space for respite and relaxation.
By creating this therapeutic safe space, we help to reduce stress by offering a calming place for veterans to escape to enable them to relax, reboot and recharge.
Run weekly on a Monday & Tuesday to book your slot you can book below.
Veterans In Action
The Old Grain Store, Redenham Park Farm, Andover, SP11 9AQ
Sessions will commence in April 2022 . We intend to roll out a similar type of project as the Weymouth Hub with Veterans In Action in Andover in 2022 and are already in planning about what will work for them.
Make A Donation
Your donation helps us raise awareness, provide tools and knowledge to help those dogs who support ex-service people with PTSD live longer and happier lives.
For dogs that find themselves living with a Veteran with PTSD, they become that person’s lifeline giving them a reason to get out and about, create new habits and develop new routines. M.A.D for Dogs exists to Make A Difference to the mental and physical well being of dogs by creating positive change in the way they are understood.