Healthy Animals, Healthy People: Our partnership with Support Dogs

Meet “Spot” the Elanco UK & Ireland sponsored support dog

Hi, my name is Emma, and I am one of the UK Strategic Account Managers here at Elanco in the UK and Ireland affiliate. An extra element to my role is working with an amazing charity you may not have heard of called “Support Dogs”. They are a small but amazing national charity dedicated to improving the lives of both children and adults with various challenging medical conditions. The charity train, provide and support dogs in family homes to take on these vital roles.

The programme covers three main areas:

Spot the Support Dog

Elanco have been sponsoring Support Dogs with our parasiticide portfolio for the last two years; providing the most appropriate parasite treatments for each individual dog’s lifestyle. In that time we have provided more than 500 support dogs parasite cover from puppies to fully fledged working dogs. 18 months ago, I was approached by Support Dogs and we were given the honour of having a puppy named as the Elanco Support Dog. We got to choose his or her name and follow the journey they would em‘bark’ on to become a fully trained support dog.

I was so excited; I ran a competition with my colleagues raising money for the charity and the winner’s name was chosen - “Spot”. Now you might be thinking why “Spot” especially when you look at the photos of him and there isn’t a spot to be found?! At the time, Support Dogs were using one of our brands, a spot-on treatment – and so Spot was winning name! The charity loved the name; they had never had a Spot before!

Finally, the day came when we got to see who our puppy would be, he was and still is the most handsome Black Labrador you have ever seen! The photo of Spot as a puppy in his Support dog learners’ uniform is just the best photo. He soon became famous within Elanco and on social media. He even has his own Instagram page if you would like to follow his journey.

Spot the Support Dog in training

Spot started his training journey 18 months ago and has been on many adventures like riding on public transport, playing in the snow, getting his paws wet in a paddling pool, meeting other dogs and animals, celebrating his first birthday and raising vital funds for Support Dogs at public events. He has even featured in some of our Elanco advertising. All these things helped Spot to become the balanced individual he is now, ready for his proper job.

Back in January 2022 I got told that Spot had been allocated to the children with autism programme and I was absolutely thrilled. Not because the other programmes are not amazing, but this was the programme I was told about when I first met Support Dogs and heard about Sam & Willow's story. Do watch the video but be warned, you will need tissues!! It broke my heart to see such a young little boy so petrified of the world and how Willow changed his and his family’s lives in such a positive way. It was at that moment that I decided I just had to get Support Dogs as a company-supported charity and fortunately Elanco agreed – this was a charity we all wanted to work with.

Now, 18 months on Spot is a fully fledged and trained support dog and he is about to go into his family to change their lives forever. I can’t wait to follow his journey further to see the amazing things he will do that will make a real difference.

As we say at Elanco, “Making life better for animals, makes life better” and the Support Dog charity is a living breathing testimony to that. Developing the partnership with Support Dogs has been so rewarding; I have loved every single minute of it. So, if you find a charity that pulls on your heart strings and you think they make a real difference and want to help them, my advice is go for it I promise you won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading

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