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First stray dog to become assistance dog for disabled person

2014-05-16

“Karma” supports her new owner in everyday life

FOUR PAWS, in cooperation with the Romanian advertising agency GMP, has developed an innovative solution for Romanian stray dogs. Dog Karma is the pioneer of this pilot project and it has been a full success for all parties involved.



© FOUR PAWS / Mihai Vasile

Until four months ago the stray was kept in a Romanian private shelter desperately waiting for a new home, together with many other stray dogs. In January 2014 dog trainer Cătălin Cornea selected Karma from the shelter to be the first Romanian stray dog to help people with locomotive disabilities. He trained her for four months. Until now, this type of training was done only with specific breeds of dogs.

 

Since the beginning of May Karma has a new owner, Mircea Campeanu, from Bucharest, a man whose life was changed irremediably four years ago by a car accident that cost him his legs. He and Karma are now continuing Karma’s training to become the best assistance dog for him. Karma already knows a lot of things such as how to open a drawer, fetch items from the drawer, shut and open the door, sit near the wheel chair, and turn on the light.

 

Mircea Campeanu is pleased with his new friend: “On the first visit we liked each other very much and Karma felt like she was at home. She just didn’t want to leave anymore. After the accident I wanted to take a dog but the idea seemed very difficult to implement because I had to take care of her also, and that was the last thing I needed. The fact that she is trained specially to be an assistance dog and that we can work together to actually help me made me change my mind, and I am very happy to see the evolution. She is a very good dog and the fact that she’s a stray is a plus; I never thought strays were this talented and I am very happy she was saved.


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Karma is also the protagonist of “The Good Dog Catcher” campaign designed by GMP Advertising for FOUR PAWS. The campaign was launched in December 2013 as one creative solution to the crisis in Romania provoked by the tragedy in September, when a child was killed by stray dogs. Public opinion is split into two sides: dog lovers and dog haters. The solution to this problem is complex and experts need to bring them together rationally. With the “The Good Dog Catcher” campaign an innovative solution for some of the stray dogs has been found: their conversion into assistance dogs for persons with disabilities.

 

Last month, the government modified the law for persons with disabilities so they can benefit from “live-in assistance”, meaning also assistance dogs, including strays, trained with public funding.

 

The idea of the project was born from a very aggressive negative discourse, with a lot of accusations coming from both sides. Through the power of example, the Good Dog Catcher could transform the hostility into love. We are glad that this initiative found an answer from the authorities, and we want to see  many good dog catchers”, declared Ioana Gheorghita, Head of Strategy, GMP Advertising.

 

The Good Dog Catcher campaign is currently in the best  six outdoor campaigns in the world, according to the “Best Ads on TV” website. The most popular website in its category, www.bestadsontv.com is the place where the agencies register their most creative projects. Each week, the registered works are judged by a worldwide-recognized creative jury that selects the most valuable ones.

The Good Dog Catcher campaign on “Best Ads on TV”: http://www.bestadsontv.com/ad/62289/Four-Paws-The-Good-Dog-Catcher

 

“The Good Dog Catcher” is the second FOUR PAWS initiative that uses strays to help people with disabilities. For more than ten years FOUR PAWS has had an animal-assisted therapy project – Dogs for People – in which ex-stray dogs, accompanied by dog trainers and psychologists, help children with disabilities. Find more information about Dogs for People here.


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