A Family Business
Our story begins with a lifelong love of dogs and animals and a passion for helping people.
The Canine Assisted Wellbeing Group (CAWG) was founded in 2013 by Vickie Plumer, an animal assisted therapist with a background in equine and dog training. Experienced in behaviour management with young people with social emotional and behavioural difficulties along with learning support and mental health, Vickie has always been passionate about trying to help people.
Vickie grew up surrounded by animals and in particular her childhood horse Polly and dog Poppy helped her through a difficult time. She experienced first hand how animal assisted therapy can really help make a difference to your mental health and emotional wellbeing, especially when it can sometimes feel really difficult to talk about what’s on your mind or about a difficult situation you are going through.
After working for several charities in similar fields, Vickie’s growing vision was to create a safe and relaxed environment to utilise the amazing therapeutic power of animals, to support young people’s learning and development. That was the first step in starting the business that would soon grow to offer one-to-one and group therapy with children in schools across the whole of the UK. The business has since grown further still to offer similar services to young people and adults in colleges, universities, workplaces and care homes whilst flying the flag and raising the profile of mental health and its importance to everyone in today’s society. Reducing the stigma of mental health is an underlying objective for CAWG and we are proud to participate in national events on the mental health calendar throughout the year, providing interventions, giving talks and having a presence at wellbeing events and conferences.
CAWG works with a team of like-minded, experienced consultants who all have a passion and desire to improve the lives of young people and adults with the powerful combination of their expertise and our specially trained support dogs. Our team comprises mental health specialists, senior teachers, therapists and behavioural management specialists to ensure our services and support is of the highest standard and at the forefront of animal assisted interventions across the UK. We regularly meet to share experiences, learn new strategies and techniques to ensure we are focussed on best practice. We are exceptionally proud of the quality of service we offer, working seamlessly in schools, workplaces and care homes.
Meet some of our team below:
Founder of the Canine Assisted Wellbeing Group, Vickie is dedicated to championing the importance of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. Her vision for the future of the company is very much focussed on how we can help as many young people and adults as possible with the support of our canine assisted therapy teams.
Chief Operating Officer
As Vickie’s husband, James has always been supportive of the important work that CAWG has been doing and has seen first hand the success stories from people who have benefited from our canine assisted therapy. So much so that James officially joined the CAWG family in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer to manage the operational and logistics side of the business. James is a mental health first aid trainer and conducts all of the mental health training courses as well as working in schools as a trained practitioner with his dog Bramble.
Affiliate Manager and Practitioner
Nici has been with the team since 2017 when she joined as our first consultant working primarily with Lily and since then with her own dog Jackson. Nici has extensive experience working with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties and also shares our passion for working with our team of dogs to help people. Nici leads the affiliate programme for CAWG, carrying out the assessments and training as well managing the affiliate teams in the field.