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£415raised of £1,000 target by 20 supporters

Weʼre raising £1,000 to help Pawsitive Squad provide specialist dog training and canine assisted therapy and activities to young people with disabilities

Nottingham, UK

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Story

Most of you currently reading this page have probably heard of us through the BBC video (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-nottinghamshire-46971085/mum-trains-family-dog-to-aid-disabled-daughter). We thank the BBC for this wonderful clip of my daughter and dog but it just shows a teeny glimpse at everything we do here at Pawsitive Squad. What it does show though is part of why i started Pawsitive Squad.

My name is Heather Pyne and I am the founder of Pawsitive Squad CIC. I first dreamt up Pawsitive Squad in 2015 when i started working as a dog trainer. At this point in my life my health was very poor and I had an assistance dog so i truly understood the value of dogs. I wanted to see how i could enable dogs to support young people so i started offering autism support classes in my first dog training company. These were successful but most people who enquired said they sadly couldn't afford the classes. So i started trying to find ways to offer more affordable classes to support disabilities.

Within a year I went from just me and 1 dog to having 2 dogs and 2 children. Both my children were premature but Izzy had extensive issues from the start. I watched my baby go through several surgeries and sit on the ventilator for weeks on end. If you know me then you'll know i stayed very strong through all this but that was only because I knew i could come home and cuddle my dog every evening and then everything would be ok... and it was.

By the time Izzy came home i had already decided my dogs would be a big focus in her life and I couldn't wait to see how much i could teach them to support her. Our older dog Beau is great at fetching things for Izzy but she's rather big and excitable so i didn't take her training any further than that.

While Pepsi provides a medical alert for both me and Izzy the main focus of Pepsi's training with my children has been development focused. Teaching Pepsi to come when Izzy presses a button, teaching Pepsi to provide pelvic and leg support for sitting up, teaching Izzy to stroke and groom Pepsi and then of course there is all the physical assistance tasks such as helping her undress, taking her blanket off, fetching stuff when Izzy drops it. She also walks dual handled by my son as he has social and communication difficulties she helps keep him safe in public.

While training Pepsi to do all this i realised just what a positive impact it was having on all our lives and how much it could support other people so i started Pawsitive Squad to provide accessible and affordable canine assisted activities and assistance & support dog training to anyone under 25 no matter what their disability or if they are recovering from a traumatic event and the young people don't even need to own a dog, they can pair up with a therapy dog for our classes.

And so, with my big vision, literally pennies in my pocket and a small team of volunteers and incredibly supportive families we launched. I'd love to tell you at this point that everything took off brilliantly but it was a very slow stage at first. I was turned down for lots of grants because our project was viewed as too small or too new and I was running out of personal funds i could invest.

By the 29th of October i had pretty much exhausted all my energy, money and time and upon receipt of another 'grant reject' email I found myself very down about the whole thing. Luckily, when my customers heard how tough it was getting everyone got behind me. This amazing team of families who i had been helping were right there to support me to continue. Now as a solid and indestructible unit through nothing but sheer determination and hard work we managed to get back on our feet and have over the last 6 weeks been able to start expanding further. A big part of how this was possible was through the generous donations of customers, their friends and families and we thank those of you who supported us.

SO, Where are we now? Well now, we are running several sessions over three locations on a regular basis. We have a fantastic committee who have been my absolute rock and a team of exceptional volunteers but money is still incredibly tight (at the point of writing this we have around £100 in the bank... which is 2 months insurance or 3 weeks venue hire) so we are really desperately in need of support.

More than 500,000 people have viewed the video about Izzy and Pepsi - if just 1% of viewers gave £1 we would finally be able fulfil our potential and support even more individuals.

Now, of course you know about Izzy and Pepsi but there are so many more children within our organisation who have found a brilliant benefit from our service from a child with muscular dystrophy and autism who is developing social skills and is able to focus in our hour long sessions when normally he struggles to focus for 5 minutes, through children who are non verbal who are learning new words with us and improving their signing and communication which enables them to be included in a world where they're normally very isolated, to wonderful children like Charlie.

This is Charlie and Lady. They've been with Pawsitive Squad from the start. Charlie has complex needs including a rare brain disorder and she is partially sighted. Charlie and Lady have thrived since joining Pawsitive Squad. Charlie has learnt to call Lady using the recall button, stand in her splints and AFO's to bowl a ball for Lady for fetch which has taken a lot of effort and focus from Charlie. We also do lots of sensory exercises with Charlie and Lady as she is a bit tactile defensive. We have also been teaching lady to pass dropped items back to Charlie and provide deep pressure therapy when Charlie is feeling poorly and distressed. All things which are helping to improve Charlie's quality of life and skills. We love seeing Charlie smiling and giggling in our sessions.

Thank you for reading about us. Please do donate what you can to enable us to continue to support the families we currently do and to expand to help more people.

Thank you.

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Updates

5

  • Heather Pyne2 months ago
    Heather Pyne

    Heather Pyne

    2 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

    AMAZING! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHOSE KINDLY DONATED XXX

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Heather Pyne2 months ago
    Heather Pyne

    Heather Pyne

    2 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Heather Pyne2 months ago
    Heather Pyne

    Heather Pyne

    2 months ago

    We have had a brilliant week at Pawsitive Squad! Our social support class was filled with fun games which focused on improving verbal communication, coordination and team work. Today we had our Christmas Party which was great fun! Lots of kids and dogs running around, playing with the parachute and parachute, painting and eating.... it's been a complete success :D Thank you for all our amazing supporters who make this all possible :)

    Update from the Page owner

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6 months ago

Heather Pyne started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 2/2/2019 20.44

Supporters

20

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Feb 2, 2019

    Fantastic work Heather, keep going 💐

    £10.00

  • Ben

    Ben

    Jan 26, 2019

    I saw your video story on BBC News and think what you are doing is amazing.

    £50.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Jan 26, 2019

    17 years ago, my husband and I got a Labrador puppy as a family pet. Wow! What a difference that dog made to our mildly Autistic son. It meant the world to us. Wishing you every success!!!

    £30.00

  • Pauline

    Pauline

    Jan 24, 2019

    Wonderful work

  • Juliet Mumby

    Juliet Mumby

    Jan 24, 2019

    As promised a small donation from my lazy dog Toby X Keep up the fantastic work

    £10.00

  • Michael Blades

    Michael Blades

    Jan 20, 2019

    £10.00

  • Donna Cotton

    Donna Cotton

    Jan 3, 2019

    All best Heather, looking forward to seeing you soon. Donna

    £30.00

Heather Pyne

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About the fundraiser
Heather Pyne

Heather Pyne

Nottingham, UK

I have two wonderful children one of whom has complex needs. I run Pawsitive Squad, a social enterprise that provides canine assisted therapy and dog training to under 25's with disabilities. I'm also a Bliss community ambassador and finishing my bachelors degree at the OU.

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