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Meet Opal and see the impact of our biggest grant awarded

We love hitting the road and seeing our grants’ impact on pets and people across the UK. 

Earlier this week, we joined Pets As Therapy at Frodsham Primary Academy in Cheshire to talk to the media about the amazing Read2Dogs initiative, which was made possible by funding from the Foundation’s biggest-ever grant of over £340,000. 

We awarded the multi-year grant in June 2022 to help them expand their services into the Northwest and Scotland, broadening their reach. 

Each week, pupils are invited to read aloud to therapy dog Opal and owner Suzie Dickens, who provides a calm reading experience. The programme has been particularly effective at supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), helping them improve their literacy skills, confidence, and concentration in the classroom. 

We chatted with Rachael Charterey, parent to Louis (age 8), who said: “As a parent, there is nothing better than seeing your child develop a newfound love for books and reading. Opal’s weekly visits are the highlight of Louis’ week – I’ve loved watching his reading skills grow and the confidence they now have when it comes to reading out loud and in front of other people. I always know when Opal has been to school as Louis jumps through the door in excitement and cannot wait to tell me which parts of the story Opal liked best that day.” 

Pets As Therapy noted, “As a result of Opal’s weekly visits, the school has seen a marked improvement in children’s confidence and communication skills.”

Amy Angus, our Head of Charity and Community at the Foundation, said: “This is just one example of the life-changing impact pets can have on people’s lives. It’s so heartwarming to see the difference we are making in local communities and, in this instance, in children’s lives. It’s only because of the ongoing generosity of our colleagues and customers that we can support initiatives like this, which helps our mission of creating a better world for pets and the people who love them.”  

Do you want to be a part of something special? You can donate here to make more projects like this possible.