Advent Calendar – 22 December: What is your wish this Christmas?
We are a user-led, non-profit organisation, based in Southampton, set up by people with mental health conditions to empower and enable people with Mental Health conditions to live a fulfilling life, able to access and participate in everyday normal activities, through peer support and the use of dogs.
Lise Marron, Founder, Trustee & Chief Officer of Capable Creatures tells us why she set up the organisation and continues to give her time…
My wish is to help people living with disabling mental health conditions to no longer have to cope alone, no longer feel overwhelmed by anxiety, traumatic memories or suicidal thoughts, no longer remain isolated and lonely, in the same way I no longer do with the support of my ‘Guides for the Mind Assistance’ Dog, Daithí.
That is why I continue to give my time to Capable Creatures, and this Christmas I am asking if you will Donate and give the Gift of a Guides for the Mind Assistance Dog and Hope to people with Disabling Mental Health Conditions, like that which I receive from Daithí?
Following an assault by a gang of youths that resulted in a badly fractured pelvis and damaged vertebrae in my neck, I have been left with life-long disabilities and severe nerve pain. Initially I was petrified about leaving home for fear of being attacked again or people hitting into my right side and aggravating the pain. Then I got Daithí and trained him as my ‘Guides for the Mind Assistance’ Dog and everything changed.
By training Daithí to walk by my right side, he blocks anyone from getting too close, so I no longer feel panic-stricken and totally on edge at the thought that someone might accidentally bump my right side and cause what feels like an electric shock or attack me from behind on my right side like when I was assaulted.
I am able to relax, interact and make meaningful connections with people I meet when out and about.
Daithí is also trained to provide tactile stimulation, where he nudges or paws me to seek my attention when I experience flashbacks to distressing traumatic events or attacks from the ‘Suicide Gremlin’. This helps stop them in their tracks, bring me back to the present and not act upon suicidal thoughts.
Training Daithí and seeing him learn new skills and grow in confidence helped restore a sense of purpose and belief that I can accomplish something even if it was not what I originally planned for my life.
Now I want to give this gift to others with disabling mental health conditions that are preventing them from participating in life.
If you or someone you know living in Southampton with a mental health condition might benefit from training their dog as their ‘Guides for the Mind Emotional Support Assistance’ dog please do not hesitate to contact Lise by email or calling 02380 559163
For more information please visit the Capable Creatures website