Stone Soup Consulting was commissioned to partner with ABAADV, an association in Portugal providing Guide Dog's for the Blind. The project developed the training programme needed to deliver additional service dogs to people in need. It also enabled the co-creation of the social impact evaluation system related to this programme.
The Guide Dog School for the Blind (ABAADV) is based in Chão do Vento, in the Municipality of Mortágua, Viseu, Portugal. The initial scope of the association is the education of guide dogs for blind people. It was founded in 1999 and is the only organisation of it's type working in this area in Portugal.
Each year, ABAADV delivers an average of 16 trained guide dogs to blind people. However, ABAADV has to start the process with a much larger number of dogs - on average about 25 dogs a year, to ensure enough candidate dogs pass the test and get selected as guide dogs. When the dogs are 3 months old, they are sent to host families for 2 years. In the second year of the programme, dogs spend weekdays training at the school and the weekend with their families. Evaluated every 3 months, not all dogs have the characteristics required to become guide dogs. Therefore, there are approx. 9 dogs left each year, who have not made the final cut for selection as guide dogs.
ABAADV was concerned about what happened to these dogs that were not selected and created the initiative ”Estou CÃOtigo”, turning these dogs into Dog Guides and Service Dogs, which are of particular use as Assistance and Intervention Dogs for children with autism and for the elderly, thus providing a socially responsible alternative use for these dogs. The association supports this with an educational system that can be adapted to other types of people, who can also benefit from the interaction with them. Stone Soup Consulting partnered with ABAADV, to develop the training and to also enabled the co-creation of the social impact evaluation system for the programme.