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Dogs for people: FOUR PAWS PROJECT brings comfort to the elderly and disabled

Romanian stray dogs are given a new life

The 'Dogs for People' project shows how people and stray dogs can work together for the common good. 

The project began in 2012 when FOUR PAWS team, and their well-trained four-legged colleagues, visited a home for children with special needs and a retirement home. The effort was such a success that a center for the elderly, called Sfantul Mercenic Fanurie, regularly participates in the project. The results are remarkable.

The elderly ladies look forward to the visits by the former strays.

More active, more social

Patients with schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and acute depression respond lovingly to the presence of the dogs who visit them weekly. At the 'Sfantul Mercenic Fanurie' retirement home in Bucharest, more than 20 elderly people wanted to take part in 'Dogs for People'. This home is quite remote and the residents do not go out that often. When our therapy dogs visit, they are very welcomed and the residents greet them with broad smiles and are full of enthusiasm.

"We want to prove that stray dogs have the same skills as any other dog, that they can connect to people and surprise them with their fantastic behavior," remarked Anca Tomescu, Head of Stray Animal Care in Romania. "The program, developed with the help of specialists from FOUR PAWS, helps older people to become more active, helps them break through their isolation, and even enables them to socialize and gain more confidence."

 

FOUR PAWS has been working with stray dogs since 2004

In Romania in 2004, FOUR PAWS introduced the first Animal Assisted Therapy project in which former stray dogs are selected and trained by experts to become therapy dogs. Since the start of the project, FOUR PAWS has shown the world that stray dogs can be of enormous value: they can help people with psychological and physical disabilities. The 'Dogs for People' project started in the spring of 2012 after lengthy research on the topic – it was the first time that an initiative like this was started in Romania.