Positive Feedback About RAD from Clients, Staff, Stakeholders & the Public
FEEDBACK DURING CORONA MERCY PROJECT June 2020
Kevin Jones (RECOVERY Support Worker)
Tue, Jun 9, 2020
"I've used some of my spare time during lock down working as a person-centred support worker for clients working with RAD. These clients have diagnosed depression/ anxiety based mental health issues and requested help from RAD to counter the issues inevitable from long periods of isolation and fear during these times. My experience of being a trained humanistic counsellor has helped to offer empathy and allow them to share their anxieties during our online sessions as well as offer more practical help. I've got to know more about these clients over the weeks and consequently seen aspects of their character come to the fore that maybe they'd not feel comfortable expressing within a more formal mental health setting. The skills they've shown can in turn help the charity to progress and be more client centred in its work. It also provides me with valuable experience in my work as a therapist."
Wed, Jun 17, 2020
Hi, I'd like to talk a little about Recovery Assistance Dogs in Leicester which is a small charity. Where I am both a client and a volunteer. Recovery Assistance Dogs helps people to recover from mental health and helps survivors of mental health.
This is just a snippet of what they do as a charity, as they advocate for people, dogs and many other areas for mental health and wellbeing.
I am fortunate enough, and very grateful that I began contact with the charity in march, and have felt nothing but love, joy, care, understanding and inclusiveness with them (just to name a few)
I would like to give a special thanks to Liz Maitland - Recovery Executive Director for bringing me into the RAD family. It is very much a family and community.
I would also like to thank all the fabulous volunteers and clients I have been fortunate enough to meet. It really makes a huge difference.
RAD as a charity includes everyone, and what they do is as close to a miracle that I have witnessed.
I myself suffer with mental health and I am also in recovery from alcohol addiction. The RAD family have made me feel nothing but welcome, and have never passed any judgement on my past.
With corona mercy and what is happening globally, I was welcomed with open arms.
Whilst being in lockdown RAD have put all their training/groups online on zoom, which has been a god send to me. I attend all of their zoom meetings.
Without the support of RAD and their online meetings I'm not sure where I would be at the moment in respect to my mental wellbeing. Especially in this current situation.
I have made many new friends whilst I've been on this fabulous RAD journey. I now feel like I have like minded friends around me, who I can talk to about anything.
RAD deserves recognition for all the hard work they do, and creating a platform for people to come together and feel safe and not judged. And for keeping me going at the moment.
More people need to know/hear of what Recovery Assistance Dogs do.
RAD changes people lives without a doubt.
Liz Maitland (Executive Director)
Tue, Jun 16, 2020
I just wanted to share my Appreciation Day Story with you.
"I am just so grateful to RECOVERY Assistance Dogs as they helped me to become a KCAI (Kennel Club Accredited Instructor) specialising in Assistance Dogs. They helped me to pay for half the training and encouraged me with the help of wonderful top Dog Trainers like Ian Dunbar and Chirag Patel to learn to train dogs with positive modern methods in obedience & skilled assistance. This is a small charity with a great mission to help people recover their Wellbeing, stop attempting suicide, self-harming and improve eating habits with the help of a fully-trained Assistance Dog. RAD has helped me to stop attempting suicide this was since 2009 and my dog Milli (golden cocker spaniel) came to help at this point. I have completely recovered from a severe Mental Health problem and been discharged from the psychiatric system and kept well since 1997 thanks to this Charity. Thank you RAD Dogs for being a small charity with a great impact."
I am a client with Recovery Assistance Dogs based in Leicester. I joined them in November 2019 where I started training with my own dog to become a recovery assistance dog. This amazing small charity helps people like myself who suffer with severe mental health problems.
Recovery assistance dogs has been a lifeline for me, with severe mental health problems and physical health problems not only have they been helping me train my dog, since the COVID 19 struck they have been helping me every week. They set up a Corona Mercy Project which enables them to come and support me at home twice a week, this includes, taking my assistance dog in training for a walk (I am shielded so unable to go out), they bring food and pastries that have kindly been donated and help with anything I need help with. We have a structured week via Zoom video calling, which includes, Centering Therapy, an hour with a counsellor to chat about any problems we are experiencing with lockdown and the best part on a Friday all of us who in are training with our dogs continue to do so via zoom.
This additional help has been literally a life line for me. I live on my own and I really struggle daily with my mental health and with not being able to go out or have people in the house it has had a huge impact on my already fragile mental health and with this help it has helped me to cope a little bit more with the current situation that is going on.
Liz Maitland the founder of the Charity has also been helping me try to get additional support at home through applying for a personal budget through social services. This is something I would have not been able to do on my own.
My sincere thanks goes to Liz and all at Recovery Assistance dogs for all the help and support they give to me. This community has gained me not only just help but also friends who understand what I am going through and we can help one another.
I have included a few pictures of my little Japanese Chin Daisy~Mae who is doing her training with this charity. She has blossomed through her training and to know I can (when we are out of lockdown) be able to take her to places with me will help me so much with my anxiety of the outside world.
Ben Roddie (RAD Administrator)
I volunteered for Recovery Assistance Dogs because I'd fallen into a hole with my mental health that I needed pulling out of. Being around the dogs and helping to train Fi-Fi at RAD has really helped me regain my confidence. I’ve since been offered paid work and have been able to make a living from helping people and working with the dogs. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to gain new skills in administration, dog training, and fundraising. I’ve also been given a chance to use my creative side by designing and writing articles for the RAD Magazine.
JS (Client and RAD Volunteer Assistant Dog Trainer) 18.09.20
I am with a small charity called Recovery Assistance Dogs who are based in Leicester, they have opened up a whole new world for me by helping me to train my own dogs to help with my mental health issues.
RAD has been instrumental in facilitating the training of my dogs to become assistance dogs... and without them I would be unable to even answer my own front door by myself!
One of the great things with RAD is that each dog is able to be trained in tasks that are of direct use to the individuals unique needs – so while some people may be looking to train their dogs to do room searches to help with fear/anxiety or others might be wanting a dog to interrupt their self-harming behaviours, I have been able to concentrate my training on tasks which are of the most benefit for myself, such as meltdown response, pressure therapy and blocking which act to calm and reset me when I am overloaded, keep me grounded and reduce my anxieties surrounding people interactions.
Another important thing is that RAD is not just interested in the welfare of their individual clients – they also place a great deal of importance on the welfare of the dogs taking part in their program. This is vital to the ability of the dogs to function well in their capacity as assistance dogs and is why I have been lucky enough to end up with two dogs being trained as assistance dogs - so that they can relief-work for each other in order to ensure they both get enough down-time (since my needs were proving to be too intense for one dog alone to cope with consistently!).
Also during the coronavirus lock-down RAD has been consistently there as a point of social contact, providing both Centering therapy and dog training through online meetings on a weekly basis – this has helped greatly in maintaining a routine to life and has become it's own little community and support network.
Without the existence and help of Recovery Assistance Dogs, my life at the moment would be very different indeed.
Thanks so much for your support of RECOVERY Assistance Dogs and your help to achieve such awesome outcomes in Mental Health recovery.
Jun 20, 2020,
To Whom It May Concern
I met Liz from RAD at Christmas & started to train one of my Dogs Mallinkee to be my Assistance Dog as I suffer from Mental Health issues. Then C-19 came along, shortly followed by Lockdown. Since Lockdown RAD has given me the following support, all of which has been invaluable. A member of staff has visited me twice a week to deliver a food parcel, check that me & my Dogs are OK & to give assistance with anything I have been struggling with. If I have needed any shopping doing, they have added this to the food parcel. It is very reassuring to know that someone will be round to make sure that I am managing as I live on my own & have no family close by. The Dog Training is now being done using Zoom several times a week, & it is nice to keep in touch with other service users who are going through similar things to myself. Once a week there is a Meditation Session, using Zoom, this also allows service users to connect with each other & discuss any issues with each other & with RAD staff, the idea being that we learn to practice this on our own daily as a means to help with staying calm, & reducing stress & anxiety. RAD has provided a very supportive service during this extremely difficult time, especially in addressing social isolation. depression & if I am feeling down & very negative thoughts start popping into my head, (doing something stupid I believe is the euphemism), it is a huge relief to know that someone is just a phone call or fb message away.
To Whom It May Concern
Since Lockdown I have been having "Person-Centred Support Sessions" from RAD on a weekly basis. I have several mental health diagnoses and with a predisposition to depression etc I found the social isolation & aloneness brought about by the necessity to stay at home & away from people, exacerbated by living on my own, extremely difficult to deal with. I have found the weekly Person-Centred Support Sessions a vital crutch to lean on & draw emotional support from during this time. It has been very reassuring to know that I have weekly sessions to keep me going & someone to talk to about the situation & how I am feeling & looking at ways to help me cope better with this strange situation. They have been cherished sessions which I knew were for me & especially about helping me understand both the external situation as well as my reaction to it all. In between sessions if I have felt down or needed to talk, I have been able to contact the Counsellor via email, so never felt I was left on my own.
I have never tried Person-Centred Support Sessions before & have found this approach to problems & mental health issues very refreshing, enlightening & very revealing of myself & indeed others, like a veil being lifted and would very much to continue with sessions of this type in the future. They have lightened the load & I have managed to discard baggage I have been holding onto for years & all this has been achieved in a very short period of time, oh if only there were more time.
I think access to this type of Support Sessions would be very useful to RAD clients at any time (not just because of C-19 Lockdown), & perhaps expanded to cover broader issues which longer running Support Sessions would allow e.g. not just keeping it together but then looking outward to e.g. more socialising, studying, volunteering, employment etc. (And quite feasibly in my view less reliance on main stream mental health service provision & even anti-psychotic medications). I do hope that RAD will obtain more funding which will enable them to continue to offer this service to its clients.
CQ & Slinky
Many thanks for coming Liz it was lovely catching up. The training was nice I enjoyed it. I can't wait to get back on track and tackling this training with all positive vibes means a lot. Thank you for your support.
Stacey & Saskia 15.05.17.
Hi Lizzie thanks for coming today. When I got home I taught Zeus the touch and he got it within a couple mins! Thank you.
Many thanks for the brilliant induction day on 24th May. We have come home feeling reassured that we will be able to get Harvey through the assessment. You said you could put me in touch with a trainer you know in Kent, was it Coleen? I would be very grateful if you do that.
Thank you so much for todays training. Training my dog along side others is a positive sign for me, as it helps with my anxiety and depression. One thing I learnt today is that its ok to make a mistake and not get upset about it. I love training my dogs as it builds a bond that I love too see. Thank you once again for giving me back what i love to do! P.S. Just to let you know I don't know every thing about dog training and I’m not confident either. Ha ha so I have a long way to go!
Lorraine July 4, 2018.
" The book " Training Dogs for your Wellbeing ", by Liz Maitland, is a brilliant Handbook, offering astute insights and instructions to anyone interested in dog training. The author offers a methodical and very clear presentation of both the facts and useful techniques. We are let into the author's personal life journey and emotional connection with dogs. Difficult issues regarding mental health and the need to establish more choice and control in our lives are tackled in a very professional yet easily-understood manner. There are very clear, precise steps described for training dogs to assist in our wellbeing. The author's message is offered through compassion and understanding for both people and dogs and maximising the relationship between the two, in order to
enhance the lives of both. A very inspiring book, highly recommended."
Efrosyni Hobbs. 24.07.18.
So proud of Mazey. Even after a serious injury she is still recovering from, she sat her PAW test as a RECOVERY assistance dog, and at just 14 months old she passed. A big thanks to her wonderful breeder Danielle Endbsl Mariette for breeding such an amazingly kind, easy dog and to Lizzie Maitland at RECOVERY Assistance Dogs - an outstanding teacher & dog trainer, for all her advice & support.
02.11.18 Nicola Ferguson & Mazey
Thanks for those at RAD who recommended a halti for lead walking. We got one yesterday and both his training sessions went so much better than usual so big thanks
Lizzie x. Sara Ainsworth. 08.11.18
You are amazing and an absolutely amazing dog trainer you have a lovely heart don't let anyone tell you differently.
Lisa, Market Harborough. 01.03.19.
Hope your morning, the travel and landing home went well today. Lovely to see you both... Its a lovely well composed Centering Therapy book, Lizzie, and it resonates well. Yes, I recognise God and am witness to spirit in all forms, although I may call him/her by other names such as "Source" or "Maker".
Your purpose and strength are admirable. And that is down to healthy commitment. Its a pleasure and a privilege to know you. Well done with the shop, I hope it flourishes and becomes more.....
Donna, Birkenhead. 07.03.29
Fabulous x Thank you Lizzie your doing such a great job with the charity and helping
so many people and furry friends
Vicky Johnson (Fostered a RAD Dog) 26.04.19.
Hi Liz, I have just sat down and read your newsletter fully (first chance today), it is lovely, enjoyed reading about Mazey, what a wonderful story, as you know I have met her and already thought she was a wonderful dog, reading just how she helps in so many ways, heart warming xxx. Sent from my iPad, Val Earp (Kennel Club Good Citizen Awards Examiner). 02.03.19
Am delighted and proud to be a RECOVERY Assistance dog as I help my mum so much and everyone thinks I'm amazing. Mum thinks the charity is amazing the way it helps people to have a better life as we dogs help them each and every day and they are so much better than they would be without us at home. We also help loads by getting our special people out of the house to benefit socially and to exercise. Where would our people be without the support of Recovery Assistance Dogs. Mum and I hope you can help loads more people (and dogs as I am a Rescue Dog).
Lots of love, Lucy, xx. Jack Russell Terrier, RECOVERY Assistance Dog, owned by Veronica 10.04.19.
RECOVERY is a well respected, well educated and well run charity that has a dedicated training team. My dog shadow is with them and I wouldn’t take her anywhere else. There aren’t many charities out there that have the dedication, passion and commitment that RECOVERY do. Lisa Parratt. 11.04.19
I have been with RAD for a while, since my puppy was about 16 weeks when she went to her first training session. I think for me, one of the things I like best about RAD is that it's very dog & people centred and that we are all treated as individuals and not just a faceless number. The staff are very helpful and approachable, including Lizzie who has been a great support to me, not just in training my dog but also in sorting out other things such as finding a PA to help in my home. Obviously dog welfare is an absolute priority but I like that there a real desire to work for people and not impose
on them hard and fast rules without looking at the dog/handler combination. I will just quickly mention another few things that I think are really beneficial:
(a) weekly training sessions for both puppies and adult dogs. No matter how experienced a trainer you are yourself, it's always good to have feedback.
(b) Trainers that own and work their own assistance dogs so truly understand the role nof a working AD and handler requirements. I found some non AD trainers who have been great trainers but have struggled with what is important practically in an AD. (c) being able to do KC bronze - gold without paying hundreds of £ course fees has been great.
Nicola Ferguson 11.04.19
Having the opportunity to train my own dog to be my Assistance Dog has given me a new sense of independence and RAD has been instrumental in helping me towards this through giving me confidence in both my dog and my own handling ability. Without the help of RAD I would have been far too anxious to take the leap from simply having a loving companion dog at home to having an assistance dog able to help me function better in the wider world. Being able to take my dog with me places means that I am no longer entirely reliant on other people to accompany me everywhere all the time
and knowing that RAD is there to provide support gives me the confidence I need to be able to continue on my assistance dog journey.
Dusan's Owner. 15.04.19
I just thought I'd mesaage you to say a big thank you for all of the rewarding training sessions and support you have given me and rolo. I must say that they have really benefited us and it has really helped me to move forward and have hope. I haven't self harmed for months now, when in actual fact it was a daily disabling struggle. My confidence and self esteem has increased and I haven't attempted to take my life for a long time now and so I really must thank everyone at RAD for helping me so much. You have given me hope and happiness where there once was none and with Rolo by my side I feel I can accomplish anything. I'm due to see my new flat this Thursday and hopefully I will come off my section 3 and move out of hospital into a supported living placement by May...we can't wait. Looking forward to seeing everyone for training on friday, Kay & Rolo, 11, February, 2020.