Founder of the K9 Project, bringing together abandoned dogs and people facing challenges in their lives, with remarkable results.
Chris set up the K9 Project in 2008, combining her experience of community and social work with her interest and expertise in animal behaviour.
Programmes include K9 Confidence, for children and young people lacking in confidence, combining personal development, goal setting, and hands on work with dogs. One participant, James, 10, told his teacher: “My life is just so much better with these dogs in it.”
Take The Lead helps older children and young adults, and Walk Your Worries Away is designed for young people struggling to maintain emotional wellbeing due to life circumstances. Sessions involve a dog walk where young people can escape from their usual pressures, helping with anxiety, social isolation, and relationship issues, especially for those living in hostels or temporary accommodation, and for young people who are care leavers.
Since the pandemic Chris has focussed on working mostly on children and teenagers who have become increasingly anxious over the last 18 months and who refuse to leave the house. Chris will take individuals out on walks with her rescue dogs in their local environment to experience nature. She is also working with younger children, many of whom have additional needs, who have developed a fear of dogs since lockdown.
“Most of the children I see are over 11. We try to build their confidence and learn techniques for managing anxiety. It’s about doing it step by step and just getting them to leave their homes is a huge leap.”