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Government Case Study

Government Case Study

This story is based on a real case, and we have changed the names in order to maintain privacy.

Working as a Service Manager in Health Services, you are keen to support and run programs where you see real outcomes. To do this we rely on evidence. Often this means that we put together programs that already have that evidence base. With limited funding and limited time, it’s just easier. What if you found a Service that you heard had worked and wanted to create the evidence?

Therese is in charge of helping kids at risk of disengaging with school or refusing to go to school and sponsoring programs that delivered real outcomes. This situation is exactly the position in which Therese found herself. She decided to do it with Canine Comprehension, it was their first time working together. She was worried about what others would think about this funding choice. She found confidence in the reports from colleagues, the qualifications of the people involved and the curriculum and he structured program.  

Working with a new partner, she wanted to be involved in the program from planning through to implementation and review, and to be clear on how success would be evaluated.  

This innovative approach to youth at risk of disengaging was run across a number of schools both primary and secondary. Therese started working with Canine Comprehension on this program and found that they were really engaged with her process and very supportive of what she was trying to achieve.  

Running this new program Therese found that all parties were flexible to changes and needs whilst also being committed to the evaluation methodology. The structure of the program, the tutor and dog qualifications, the curriculum and measurement all culminated in a fantastic outcome.

“There was positive feedback from all parties and at all levels, from principals to teachers and students.  It was rewarding to see a real difference being made for the youth.”

The schools came on board too, with some knowledge about how dogs can help from a therapeutic stance, but what was incredible as we witnessed the program and the process was to see such a broad range of students benefiting. Therese hadn’t seen this breadth of response and outcomes with other programs.

Working in partnership with Canine Comprehension they were able to witness and collect evidence that clearly showed the impressive impact on student well-being including (numbers based on staff assessment):

  • 75% decrease in overall anxiety
  • 90% increase in connection to peers
  • 85% increase in emotion regulation
  • 77% increase in student engagement with school (Uniting Kildonan, 2017)

Therese was relieved that this innovative approach had yielded such great results when targeting students and helping them remain engaged with school, education and peers.



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