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The ‘Quatre A’ is an association whose purpose is to meet the demand for guide dogs free of charge and offer animal therapy workshops. A valuable and generous initiative to which the Michelin Corporate Foundation has wished to give its backing.
Selection, training and guidance
Located at Sermentizon in the Puy-de-Dôme department, the Quatre A association is a certified guide dog training center with public benefit status. The organization is driven by four convictions: friendship (the association comprises a team of volunteers aided by accredited guide dog trainers); assistance (the association provides help on technical matters and paperwork); guidance (the association does its best to channel demand); autonomy (the association helps visually handicapped people achieve mobility with confidence). Since its creation in 1994, the association has worked with breeders to select pups capable of being raised as guide dogs and has trained them before entrusting them to their new masters. Time is needed to develop the relationship between man and dog. The aim is for the guide dog to become a real partner in life who can put an end to his master’s isolation and help him in his daily movements. This service, which is still rare in France, is totally free, the Quatre A association bears all the costs of training. On average, four or five dogs are trained each year.
In addition to its vocation of assisting visually handicapped persons, the association also offers animal therapy sessions to people with motor, cognitive or behavioral disorders. In a practical way, the Quatre A education team works with medical and social organizations in providing therapy sessions with small animals, mainly cats and dogs. The purpose is to develop, maintain or improve the potential of patients to think, move, sense, relate and interact socially. The physical and mental benefits are widely recognized.
The Michelin Corporate Foundation was won over by this ambitious project which, by placing the animal at the heart of the process, gives new independence, confidence and security to people with a handicap.