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Barry helping out


Canine-assisted social work

Switzerland’s national dog has a heart of gold. The Saint Bernard loves and needs contact with people and has assisted us for centuries, previously as a rescue dog, today in dog-assisted social work. The Barry Foundation has successfully provided animal-assisted interactions in the social field since 2012. These include the following:

Animal-assisted activities
Visits to homes and schools

Animal-assisted education
Camps and long-term programmes

Animal-assisted therapy
Programmes tailored to specific needs

These interactions are based on the assumption that dogs mobilise our physical, mental, psychological and social resources.

« Scientific studies impressively document the benefits of companion animals to people‘s well-being, personal growth and quality of life ».

(Source: Geneva Declaration of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations,

All interactions take place with particular attention to the Saint Bernards’ own needs, species-specific welfare considerations and expert care.



IAHAIOInternational Association of IAHAIO
GTTAGesellschaft für Tiergestützte Therapie und Aktivitäten
Pet PartnersPet Partners’ mission is to improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond

Animal-Assisted Activities


Visits to homes

Our visiting dogs love contact with people and are trained, along with their handlers, to form a so-called “social dog team”. We visit people of all ages. The dog’s mere presence and the physical contact of stroking the dogs enriches the daily lives of people living in homes, for example retirement homes or homes for the disabled. The Saint Bernards provide topics of conversation and facilitate social interactions. The health benefits of dogs were scientifically proven a long time ago. The mere presence of our Saint Bernards can lower blood pressure and heart rate and alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression. The visiting programme is designed together with the individual institution and is tailored to the specific needs of the target group.


Visits to schools

We offer visits to schools for children with special needs, during which we cover a variety of topics such as the history of Saint Bernards, how to approach a dog and how to stroke a dog.

Animal-Assisted Education


Camps and long-term programmes

Working together with teachers of various schools and other institutions, we design camps lasting several days and longer-term programmes in the area of animal-assisted education. These cover all levels of intervention, namely motor, language and communication, cognition, perception, social, emotional and affective, and motivation, and can include the following activities:

Strengthening personal resources such as self-confidence
Reducing emotional stress and restoring a zest for life
Increasing motivation and dedication
Supporting relationship building with other participants or leaders
The Saint Bernard as a bridge between children and adults, facilitating communication
Social integration (Saint Bernards accept us for who we are, without prejudice)
Getting to know oneself better
Improving social skills (general life skills, better impulse control and fewer aggressive outbursts)

The content of our programme also helps prevent dog bites and increase knowledge about dogs and generally provides new experiences.

Animal-Assisted Therapy


Specific activities in special education

We offer specific activities in which our Saint Bernards help participants acquire skills and achieve wellbeing, for example in cases of autism spectrum disorders or other special needs.


Therapy dogs

Our Saint Bernards are employed in hospitals in rehabilitation, working together with various types of therapist, for example occupational therapists, physiotherapists or medical doctors. During these activities, the therapy-dog/handler tandem provides support and motivation in the patient exercises that have been defined together.


Individually therapy for treating fear of dogs

Fear of dogs is not uncommon and can be debilitating and reduce the quality of life of those affected. We offer people with a fear of dogs the opportunity to meet one of our dogs. The programme is discussed in advance with clients in order to develop a concept tailored to their needs.

Contact social

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