Support Dogs UK

Support Dogs is a national charity dedicated to improving independence and quality of life for people with living with some of the most challenging medical conditions. It trains specialist assistance dogs to achieve this.

Our charity runs three main programmes of support:

Seizure Alert Programme

Epilepsy is the most common neurological illness with over 600,000 cases in the UK. 30% of people with epilepsy are unable to control their seizures through medication. Instead they live with the fear of an oncoming seizure which can occur at anytime. This fear affects everything they do, limiting their independence and ability to live an active life.

Support Dogs is the only charity in the UK to train and provide seizure alert dogs. Seizure Alert Dogs are trained to provide a 100% reliable warning between 15-45 minutes prior to an oncoming seizure. They enable their owner to find a place of safety and maintain their dignity. The security of having this warning is life changing. It facilitates greater independence and the ability to live a more active life. It also helps to prevent the 400 or so deaths each year caused by accidents following an epileptic seizure.

Autism Assistance Programme

Our autism assistance programme is life changing for both the child with autism and their family.

Our clients are children with autism who are unable to communicate or express their feelings in a way that is understood by others. They have little sense of danger or of the consequences of actions. Many children with autism have a tendency to bolt and wander off from their care givers, putting themselves in danger and often resulting in injury.

Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to provide safety and facilitation of a more independent and socially inclusive life for both the autistic child and their family. Autism Assistance Dogs reduce stress for family members; promote positive changes in behaviour; provide comfort for children with autism when upset; and reduce behavioural outbursts. Allowing the child and family to become more fully active and involved in their community.

Disability Assistance Programme

Our Disability Assistance dogs are trained to meet the specific needs of a client. Our aim is to improve independence for people whose physical disability significantly reduces their quality of life. Our clients have a range of conditions but most commonly include spinal cord injury, MS or severe arthritis. We are the only charity able to train a client's own pet dog to provide this support.

Our assistance dogs provide practical assistance with tasks that may be painful or impossible to perform. This includes raising an alarm in an emergency, opening and closing doors, picking up objects and assisting with showering and dressing and undressing.

The dogs also facilitate vital social interaction. An assistance dog is often a catalyst for conversation, meeting new people and increasing their owner's interaction with members of the community. These further increase confidence and improve mood and self-esteem. This change is often cited by our clients as hugely improving the quality of their life. It reintegrates them into a community they once felt isolated from and develops friendships and further opportunities for social interaction.

Increased independence through the deployment of a Support Dog releases family members from their roles as primary carer and in many cases can enable them to return to paid employment, therefore reducing poverty and social deprivation and improving family life and relationships.

Our services is free to our clients and we rely entirely on voluntary donations. Support Dogs receives no government funding.

We have long waiting lists for all three of our programmes and can only change this with increased funding. Your support is vital to us.

Support Dogs
21 Jessops Riverside
Brightside Lane
S9 2RX
0114 261 7800
Registered Charity No. 1088281