EADT Suffolk - - SUFFOLK DOGS - Owned by So­phie Mayes

Bee and Hope are Brainy Dogs who work with Head­way Suf­folk, the Na­tional Lot­tery funded char­ity that sup­ports peo­ple with brain in­jury, stroke, neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions and those who care for them, at its Ip­swich cen­tre. Hope is a seven-year-old Cocker spaniel x Labrador, and Bee is a two-yearold col­lie x Labrador x Dal­ma­tion, and both be­long to Brainy Dogs co­or­di­na­tor So­phie Mayes.

“Bee is the live­lier of the two, while Hope is re­ferred to as our ‘bomb proof’ dog,” says Brainy Dogs co­or­di­na­tor So­phie Mayes. “The dogs match dif­fer­ent clients and so will work with dif­fer­ent peo­ple in dif­fer­ent set­tings. They both un­der­take vis­its to care homes and work with clients in the cen­tre or in their own homes.”

Brainy Dogs are trained to help peo­ple with a neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion, and are ei­ther their own dogs or Head­way dogs. Well be­haved com­pan­ions, they give love and are loved in re­turn. They can help break the ice with strangers, pro­vide so­cial in­ter­ac­tion via dog walk­ing, give peo­ple some­thing in com­mon with oth­ers, pro­vide com­pan­ion­ship, es­pe­cially when friends and/or fam­i­lies leave, give peo­ple a rea­son to get up for in the morn­ing. And if some­one needs spe­cific train­ing for their dog Head­way can ar­range it.

The dogs based at Head­way’s Ip­swich Cen­tre are pro­vide re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for peo­ple ei­ther in the cen­tre or in their homes.

“We also visit care homes and other es­tab­lish­ments whose clients may ben­e­fit from the dogs,” says So­phie. “The dogs do many tricks and peo­ple en­joy do­ing games with them. It pro­vides re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in a fun and mo­ti­va­tional way. They may also want to walk or groom them.”

Brainy Dogs be­gan when He­len Fair­weather, CEO of Head­way Suf­folk, read a book called En­dal about a dog who saved his owner af­ter a brain in­jury dur­ing his time in the Royal Navy. She also watched a TV pro­gramme in which dogs went into pris­ons for train­ing. She put the two ideas

ABOVE: Poppy and Hope are Brainy Dogs for Head­way Suf­folk RIGHT: So­phie Mayes, Brainy Dog Co-Or­di­na­tor for Head­way Suf­folk with her dogs Hope and Poppy

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