Dogs Squad dream finally takes shape as it prepares for first clients in Christchurch Park
PUBLISHED: 16:30 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:36 27 August 2020
The owner of a new centre to use dogs to help people with learning difficulties is hoping it will be a case of second time lucky when she welcomes her first clients next week.
Lisa Correll had hoped to get the Dogs Squad established on the old bowling green at Christchurch Park in Ipswich in the spring – but just a week after she officially opened the lockdown began and she was forced to put her plans on hold.
It has allowed her and a group of volunteer helpers to clear the overgrown area and prepare for when it does open – and she hopes to take on her first clients next week.
Ms Correll, who has worked with the care sector for many years, is running the centre to offer therapy to adults with learning difficulties and autism and to those who need somewhere to leave their dogs for the day when they are out to work.
She will have places for up to six people and the same number of dogs.
She said: “Working with dogs is so good for people with learning difficulties and autism, you can see that they often relate better to pets than they do to other people.”
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Pet owners leaving their dogs at the site can expect their animals to get some training and lots of exercise – as well as a being pampered with a touch of grooming at the end of the day.
Ms Correll said: “I’ve also got qualifications in some grooming. We’re not going to start cutting their coats, but we’ll clean and brush them before they go home.”
During the lockdown she and a group of volunteers have prepared the area for their first dogs – using unwanted wood and other rubbish from the area.
One of the features will be a mound that is being created from old tyres that were found nearby – that should create the perfect playground for pooches.
The cost of keeping a pet in the dog creche is £15 a day and the clients will also have to pay for their sessions – either from their own funds or it will be funded by Suffolk County Council.
Ms Corell added: “We’re just awaiting the final confirmation from the council but everything seems to have been fine so far.
The first clients and dogs are expected to arrive next week – but the potential for the scheme could take longer to realise because more people are working from home and able to exercise their pets themselves.
But that hasn’t put off Ms Correll: “We’ve got clients starting next week and I’m sure this will be a success,” she said.
Anyone wanting to contact the Dogs Squad can call Ms Correll on 07585 212543.
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