Tag Archives: offenders

“Me and My Dog” – Radio 4 – A programme about young people and dogs

Yesterday our Chair, Elizabeth Ormerod, spoke on the Radio 4 programme “Me and My Dog”.  The programme looked at the relationship between young people and dog and Liz spoke specifically  about the benefits of animals for children and also about how dogs can have a very effective and mutually beneficial relationship with young offenders and prisoners.

Listen now (available until 7th April 2013)

Dog fighting and so-called ‘status’dogs for protection has increased the popularity of ‘bull-type’ breeds such as Staffordshire bull terriers, and their crosses, on urban housing estates. Nearly half the dogs rescued by Battersea Dogs Home are ‘staffies’ and can be more difficult to re-home.

Presenter Mike Embley discovers how an unlikely alliance between teenage offenders and unwanted or abused dogs can give them both a second chance.

In Britain, a number of initiatives are following the lead of American schemes like Project Pooch, which has proved successful in preventing re-offending and teaching teenage offenders to take responsibility for their behaviour – while also helping the better-trained dogs find new homes.

Mike meets animal organisations leading the way, like The Dogs Trust which works with young offenders who have been sentenced to community service. The charity is also about to start another programme inside Feltham Young Offender Institution, while a similar scheme is already underway in Polmont Prison in Scotland.

He also speaks to Scottish veterinarian Elizabeth Ormerod, chair of the Society for Companion Animal Studies, who believes such programmes give offenders hope for the future when they see dogs they have trained being re-homed as ‘model doggy citizens’. She believes interaction with dogs not only helps them understand animal behaviour but their own behaviour and the actions of others.

Producer: Sara Parker
A White Pebble production for BBC Radio 4.

 

White Gold project and Gill Pearce – Working with animals to help people

Gill Pearce was a veterinary nurse for nearly 40 years before she retrained as a therapeutic counsellor. She now works with her dog Megan (pictured below), helping to reduce offending behaviour in young people.

SIX years ago Gill made a career change from veterinary nursing to train to become a therapeutic counsellor and work with young people. Gill initially trained as a bereavement counsellor with Cruse, an organisation that offers support to bereaved people. This led to further counselling courses, until she achieved the advanced diploma in therapeutic counselling and is now an accredited counsellor.

Gill began working with the White Gold initiative, a police project in Cornwall that aims to reduce offending behaviour in young people. Most of the young people Gill works with are prolific offenders, often disadvantaged, frequently unhappy and/or abused, and very challenging, but usually amazing and interesting.

Gill Pearce presented at the SCAS 2011 conference in London.

Read the full article from 2011 at BMJ Careers – Working with animals to help people.