Brainy Dogs is a unique scheme that works with dogs and prisoners to improve the mental wellbeing of people with brain injuries. Neurological conditions can leave people with poor communication skills and feeling isolated having lost contact with friends and family following personality changes. A ‘Brainy Dog’ increases their confidence, gives them a reason to take regular exercise and makes them feel much better about life.
Brainy Dogs is run by Headway Ipswich and East Suffolk with the help of £60,000 of National Lottery funding. The spin-offs from the project are far reaching: Prisoners from Hollesley Bay Open Prison get involved in training the dogs and dogs from Felixstowe Blue Cross rehoming centre get new homes and owners.
Chief Executive of Headway Ipswich and East Suffolk, Helen Fairweather, says the work of Brainy Dogs is hugely beneficial for people with brain injuries: “People tend to lose friends due to a change in personality brought on by their condition, yet they still need to love and be loved. Dogs fill this gap. Prisoners involved in the project also find it very rewarding. They gain knowledge and self worth, meet new people and give back to society for some of the bad things they’ve done.”
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