Lisa (Mum), Stuart and Jess
Canine Generated Independence (CGI) are a Not for Profit Organisation helping around 100 disabled people ranging in all types of disabilities, including Mental Health, Autism, Physical Disabilities and Medical Alert. CGI enables owner trainers to train their own assistance dogs and have them tested by assessors for obedience, mitigating tasks and public access safety. To date they have over 30 qualified assistance dogs and many more to follow. l myself have an Autism Spectrum Condition and have been training my dog Jess, who is a Sprocker Spaniel, with the help of my Mum and CGI - where he helps to track me when I go wandering as I often disappear when things get too much, I have been lost a couple of times and Jess has found me, this helps Mum because I don't have great communication skills and won't always answer when people call my name or I won't tell people where I'm going. Jess also helps with crossing roads safely as I have no awareness of dangers and I will just walk across roads into traffic, Jess stops me from crossing a busy road by pulling back. He also helps me when I find social situations too stressful by sitting on me and providing weight which helps to calm me, this also helps me at night time with going to sleep, its called deep pressure therapy. Jess helps me when I have meltdowns as I can become quite violent but Jess knows how to calm me, he is my best friend - it was Jess that helped with me talking, as I have to do the training too so I need to speak or he won't do what needs to be done, Mum taught Jess intensive interaction where Jess will take the toy I'm playing with and this gets my attention, but for me to get it back I've got to speak and ask Jess to stop, drop it and leave it. If I want him to bring me the toy back, I have to ask him to pick it up, bring it, drop it, then leave it. Jess does lots of fun things too like opening the doors in the house, picking all my things off the floor when I come home from school. He is so much fun. I am going to do the Wee Wander (a sponsored walk) but that's a marathon to me as I find walking really hard, staying focused on one task for such a long time is really difficult. I want to raise as much money as I can for Canine Generated Independence because without them we couldn't train Jess and without Jess my life wouldn't be the same.