VZW Canisha assistentiehonden

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Assistance Dogs

The association Canisha is a Belgian not for profit organisation that raises assistance dogs for handicapped people.
Those dogs make a real big difference for the one who's convicted to sitting in a wheelchair for the rest of his/her life, due to illness, due to an accident, from birth....

How do they make a difference?
Service dogs learn to pick up stuff (keys, a tv remote, a towel... anything that was dropped or fallen on the floor, even coins!) and bring it on the knees or in the hands of their handicapped owner. They can open and close Zenn paying at the cashdeskdoors, push elevator buttons, switch lights on, bark or be silent on command, help pulling off clothes, pick things from the shelfs in a store, even pay at the cash desk, etc. Most service dogs know about 40 particular commands to help the handicapped when it's needed.
And at the other hand, this way handicapped people also get a true and faithful friend, and also a chance to integrate more easily in the society. Having a dog at your side helps other people to start a conversation with you, and you're no longer socially isolated.

Hearing dogs are trained to help deaf and hearing-impaired people, by responding to specific sounds, such as the alarm clock, doorbell, baby cry, telephone and smoke alarm. Instead of barking, the dogs alert the deaf person by touch, using a paw to gain attention and then lead them back to the sound source. For sounds such as the smoke alarm and fire alarm, the dogs will lie down to indicate danger.

The specific nature of our association is to give each dog an individual training. From 8 weeks old the puppies are handed over to a foster family, to be socialized and to learn specific orders bit by bit. Every 2 weeks there's a group training to check on their progress. Between these trainings a handler of the association visits the foster families now and then when necessary. When after 18-20 months the dog seems to be ready to start working for a handicapped person, a meeting is organized and if there's a match, the dog and his new owner start following the trainings together.

Our dogs are offered for free to the handicapped persons, the conditions are that the dog is actually a surplus value to the handicapped person, that the new owner loves his dog and is able and willing to take good care of him.

If a dog doesn't meet all standards a service dog has to, he becomes a social dog in an elder homeand is offered to a mentally handicapped person or for instance an autistic child.
The dog may also be used for Animal Assisted Activities in elder homes, institutes for mentally handicapped children or palliative care units in hospitals.

Some handicapped people already bought a dog to keep them company, before they ever heard about trained servicedogs. Our association is willing to educate and train those owned dogs too, depending on a number of conditions of course: the dog shouldn't be too old yet, has to be from an easily trainable race, has to pass a few tests first...

The dogs that fit best in a training program as a service dog are of the Retriever family: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Flatcoated Retriever. They are big and strong, calm, devoted, social and they have a great instinct to apport stuff. All our dogs have a pedigree and each pup is selected very carefully.

labrador retriever  golden retriever  flatcoated retriever

Educating and training assistancedogs is very expensive. Until now the association depends only on the work of volunteers and on the financial support of sponsors and individuals.
Do you want to help us?
- by becoming a foster home for a pup until he's about 18 months old
- by depositing a gift on our account IBAN BE66 6528 2047 0643 BIC HBKABE22.
- by signing up your company as an official sponsor
- by organizing any event for the benefit of our association
- by becoming a volunteer and help us with all kinds of tasks, big or small.

For more information contact us:

Gerrit Martens
president
+32 471 20 22 75
gerrit@canisha.be


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