LE COPAIN

Le Copain was founded in 1993 in the French part of Switzerland. The association uses dogs and the abiding unique human-animal bond for a great cause: providing improvement of the underlying condition and better autonomy to adults or children suffering from either a physical handicap, cognitive deficiencies, diabetes or  epilepsy. The dog thereby also fosters the social integration of his handler or beneficiary.

The basic education of a selected puppy begins at the age of two months with its placement in a foster family. The role of these families, who work entirely on a voluntary basis, is to prepare and condition the growing puppy to qualify later as an assistance dog in the period of special training. Voluntary supervisors coach these foster families to ensure the best possible basic training. At the age of approximatively 15 to 18 months, the dogs leave their foster families to return to the Swiss Training Center for Assistance Dogs in Granges (canton of Valais). For six months, highly qualified canine educators provide a very intensive, special training program based on individual aptitudes. At the end of this period, the dogs are ready to be assigned to a person with special needs. Le Copain retains permanent ownership of the dog, whereas the recipient is responsible for his daily upkeep and well-being from then on. A regular contact between Le Copain, the recipient and the assistance dog is maintained with the objective of deepening the bond between the two partners and thereby increasing their joint functionality.

The assistance dog (mobility assistance dog) provides services to a person with physical disabilities (wheelchair-bound or other handicaps), By doing so, the dog provides more autonomy and independence to the recipient. A service dog can either stimulate, calm down or positively influence developmentally challenged children or adults in other, so-far unknown ways, particularly in times of crises. He can improve the condition of his beneficiary and therefore promotes progresses during educational sessions and/or physiotherapy, and helps the integration of that person into the daily life. The dog permanently adapts to the condition of his master to the benefit of the latter, therefore fostering a deepening bond between the two.               The medical alert dog that assists a person suffering from epilepsy with the management of his problems, figures also in the training program of Le Copain. He can recognize and warn about an impending seizure, fetch his master’s medical bag, and support him during recovery until full consciousness and physical function have returned. The same is valid for persons suffering from narcolepsy or similar sudden onset crises, e.g. hypoglycemia with poorly regulated diabetes. This warning and support during and after the event gives the person greater safety and self-confidence, and improves her autonomy in the daily life greatly. This particular type of training is a great challenge for Le Copain, which is supported by a special grant from the RobMar foundation.

www.lecopain.ch 

Donation details are available under the Information category.