For 28-year old Kate, boat trips organised by Cowes Sailability Club are sensory experiences that she can enjoy with her assistance dog Tammy.

Joanne Morton says:

My daughter Kate is devoted to her assistance dog Tammy, who joined us two years ago from Ability Dogs 4 Young People IoW.  I told Kate about the boat trips with Cowes Sailability Club, and she was initially a bit hesitant, but when she found out that Tammy could go too, she was all for it! 

Kate has cerebral palsy, a severe visual impairment and several other disabilities caused by a brain haemorrhage that she suffered shortly after she was born.  For many years she has struggled with social situations, and she doesn’t like to be in crowds.  This has meant that it has always been hard to find activities that she can engage in, especially with an assistance dog. 

I got in touch with Cowes Sailability Club and arranged two trips for Kate, Tammy and me during the summer on an accessible motorboat.  Kate had never done anything like this before, so it was a big step for her – not only going on a boat, but also interacting with new people. 

She loved it!  It was so peaceful and the movement of the boat helped her to relax.  She cannot see the sea, but being on the boat heightened her other senses and she enjoyed the noise of the water, the feel of the wind in her face and even the smell of the boat’s engine.  In one hour on the water, she had a lot of sensory experiences and really enjoyed it. 

Tammy was great on board!  She wore a dog life jacket and just sat on her blanket.  Kate was so relaxed when she was on the boat because Tammy helps Kate remain calm and her training is personalised to Kate’s needs.

Cowes Sailability Club’s volunteers were very welcoming and explained things very clearly and calmly to Kate, which made it stress-free for us both.  As Kate’s carer, I benefited as well, as I got to enjoy an exciting day out with Kate.  It was a treat for me too. 

Thank you, Cowes Sailability Club.