About Us – How It All Started
Chris is the human face of The K9 Project, beautifully supported by her Canine Team. With 40 years’ experience in health, social care and educational settings; working across all business sectors, running her own consultancy and training enterprise, and as an author, Chris is a respected and recognised pioneer in utilising the human-canine bond.
Chris established the K9 Project in 2008; realising her dream of bringing the magic of people and dogs together in a creative and innovative way. Combining her passion for animals, people and creativity, the K9 Project was born. Since then she has steered the Project through the differing stages of its development; from a partnership, then six years as a non-profit organisation, and now in its revised format, a new era has begun. Each stage has helped Chris learn new things about the beautiful power of working alongside dogs with vulnerable or disadvantaged children, teenagers and adults. Along with her team she has worked with hundreds of children and teenagers, supported adults into volunteering and employment, helped the world be a kinder place for many dogs and their owners, and developed unique and inspirational projects. You can learn about some of these ground-breaking projects by having a look around our website.
Motivated to progress the K9 Project and to keep pushing the boundaries, this latest development sees Chris concentrating her efforts in three areas:
- Working alongside children and young people who are in experiencing challenge preventing them from reaching their full potential.
- Supporting people who want to set up their own canine assisted interventions and projects through established coaching programmes, training packages and resources.
- Programme development and dissemination which will enable others to learn from her experiences.
“When I set up the K9 Project with my husband, Kevin in 2008 there were very few people doing anything similar in this country so I had to turn to the USA for inspiration and learning. We hoped, but had no guarantee, that the project could be as successful as it has been. I have been constantly inspired by so many aspects of what we have all achieved. There are numerous aspects to the Project that serve as a constant source of inspiration; individual stories of the people we have supported, the way our canine team have responded to different people and challenges, and the amazing support we have received has been awe inspiring and humbling. It is time now to focus on our bespoke programmes and services in order to maximise the benefit of what we have learned and share it with others”.
If you choose to work alongside Chris in any capacity you will be benefiting from her qualifications (in social work, education , management, dog training and behaviour and NLP) as well as her considerable skills in coaching, group facilitation, mentoring and creative thinking.
Chris is assisted by her ex shelter dogs who all offer their own personalities –
First there is Cassie the calm, been around , take it in my stride project dog – affectionate, good at encouraging shy children to interact, and with an uncanny intuition that allows her to target the people who need her most at any given time. She can also be noisy, demanding and playful. Thrown out of a moving car as a young pup she has been with Chris for 12 years and worked on the project for 8.
Billy is our shy and nervous collie cross who has a small repertoire of tricks. His large golden eyes pull you in and due to his sensitivity he tends to bring the best qualities out of most students. He loves cuddles and games and his current nickname is “noodle legs” (from an 8 year old ). Billy came over from Ireland and missed much of the important socialisation- he is a great visual metaphor and role model for students lacking in confidence.
Izzy is our ADHD Dog – found straying on the streets and sent to the pound destined to be put to sleep until Chris found her and decided she should come and be on the team. Helping Izzy be a project dog is an ongoing work in progress; she is bright, lively, and fast to learn……….it is sometimes hard to keep up. She has an impressive array of skills including scentwork and parkour training and loves nothing more than to be busy busy busy .
Taz is our large bull breed mastiff x Rottweiler. As a larger dog he now has some arthritis so tends to come out for the quieter sessions when he doesn’t have to run about so much. He loves to meet people and is a real confidence booster.