Fediaf, the European Pet Food Industry Federation, discontinued sending Christmas cards several years ago. Instead, a donation is made annually to Dyadis, the Belgian charity that trains and hands over assistance dogs to people with disabilities.
Whether due to an accident or an illness many people are obliged to use a wheelchair. Daily actions which we simply do not think about and take for granted become real challenges for someone in a wheelchair. Opening a door, picking up a fallen key, collecting the newspaper or simply getting from A to B. In addition to the physical, there is the psychological aspect; people still feel ill at ease, embarrassed or look the other way when they see a disabled person; reduced social contacts, feeling of inadequacy and discomfort are the result.
To help, Labradors or Golden Retrievers are purchased by Dyadis, socialised in foster families and then given an intensive training between 18 and 24 months; picking up items, switching on lights , opening doors, getting used to the wheelchair, how to interact and once they are ready for their new life they are paired up with their future partner. The dogs are handed over free of charge.
These dogs from Dyadis help the disabled physically, psychologically, socially and last but not least affectively; contacts are much easier with a dog than when alone in a wheelchair.
150 to 200 Christmas cards plus postage to say a few lines to contacts at the EU institutions, sister associations or contacts in the Member States. Fediaf does it instead by e-mail and donates the money to Dyadis. Every little contribution helps.
For more information:
+ 32 2 536 05 20
+ 32 2 772 30 12