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Service, therapy dogs enhance well-being and quality of life

The three puppies will be matched with people who need them.

The three puppies will be matched with people who need them.

Banif Bank has entered into a three-year collaboration with Service Dogs Malta Foundation to sponsor three dogs in their development – from puppyhood to their full certification as therapy or service dogs.

Depending on the aptitude of the dog, training can take up to two years and can cost up to €15,000. Service dogs are trained to carry out a variety of tasks with the aim of making life easier for people living with a disability or condition that affects their day-to-day activities.

The bank’s financial contribution will help the foundation cover some of the costs that go into training a service dog, such as vaccinations, vet fees, insurance and trainer costs. This sponsorship, which falls within Banif’s corporate social responsibility programme, ties in well with the bank’s philosophy of giving back to the local community.

Service dogs can truly enhance the well-being and quality of life of people with debilitating conditions, increasing their level of independence and reducing the need of human carers.  They perform a multitude of tasks and are essentially eyes for the blind, ears for the deaf and arms and legs for people with mobility issues. Some service dogs are trained to act as warning mechanisms for people with conditions which might be life-threatening. Beyond all of this, dogs offer companionship and emotional support.

Once a match has been made between service dog and handler, that is, the person who needs him, the service dog is assigned without any financial obligations but on the condition that the dog is monitored yearly. This is to ensure that the service dog continues to perform the tasks he has been trained to do to meet the specific needs of his handler.

“Service dogs can make a huge difference to a person’s quality of life, both in a practical sense, as well as when it comes to giving emotional support,’’ said Melvin Pellicano, the bank’s head of business development. “We are impressed with the effort and dedication of the Service Dogs Malta Foundation and believe that the invaluable work being done can truly give a new lease of life to people with special needs.”

Joanne Cremona from the Service Dogs Malta Foundation said: “The positive impact that service dogs have on people’s lives is overwhelming. These wonderful animals perform tasks for their handler, but they also offer love and companionship. These three puppies have a long journey ahead of them but, by the end of it, they will be matched with people who need them and who they will bond with. The training is both costly and intensive and we greatly appreciate Banif Bank’s support of our mission, which is to eventually match a service dog with every person who needs one.”

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